President Donald Trump commanded his then-chief of staff, John Kelly, to grant Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior presidential adviser, a top-secret security clearance despite concerns from intelligence officials, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing four people briefed on the matter.
Trump’s command to Kelly came last May, the day after the White House Counsel’s Office urged him not to grant Kushner the clearance, the Times reported.
The directive prompted two internal memos — one from Kelly on being “ordered” to grant Kushner the clearance, and another from then-White House counsel Don McGahn listing the issues raised against Kushner, including from the CIA, and advising that he not receive the clearance, according to the paper. Kelly did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.
A spokesperson for Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell disputed the Times’ characterization of Kushner’s security clearance process.
“In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone,” spokesperson Peter Mirijanian told CNN in a statement. “That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”
Lowell told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in May 2018 that “there was … nobody in the political process that had anything to do with” Kushner’s security clearance, adding that “there was nobody who pressured it. It was just done the normal, regular way.”
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
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