Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Donald Trump Sides with General Kelly in Security Squabble with Jared Kushner

Trump Doesn’t Want A Sitter So He May Dump John Kelly And Have No Chief Of Staff Letter: Trump should face his accusers
Isabel Fisher | 24 February, 2018, 11:46

He heaped praised on Kushner, calling him a "high-quality person" and "an extraordinary dealmaker" working on Middle East peace. I think he's been treated very unfairly.

In his phone conversation with McGahn, Rosenstein meant to give an update on the status of Kushner's background investigation.

Kushner moved into the White House with the administration in late January 2017.

He claimed that some of the staff members still waiting for a permanent clearance are "people with not a problem in the world", and said Kelly will decide what to do about Kushner's interim clearance.

But the president has the right to override clearances and show classified information to anyone, a stipulation the rules-averse Oval Office surely knows.

"SCI" refers to 'Secure Compartmented Information, the most sensitive material in US government has.

White House officials have been trying to smooth over the dispute in a way that would allow Kushner to continue his work, the source familiar with the matter said. People familiar with the February 9 call said Rosenstein was returning a White House phone call seeking guidance on the status of his background investigation, among those of others. Kushner has also come under scrutiny in special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

There are conflicting accounts about whether Rosenstein discussed with McGahn the significance of the information and its possible impact on Kushner's clearance. "There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise", Kelly said.

"I have definitely had cases over the years where there was a parallel criminal investigation ... that was happening at the same time as there was a clearance investigation", Zaid said. The combination of factors could leave Kushner without a security clearance for months to come, even as he tackles sensitive issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United States' relationship with Mexico.


Both the White House and Kushner's lawyer have insisted that, regardless of any action taken by Kelly, Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change.

Beyond the clean-cut revocation of interim security clearances for those with applications pending since June 1 or prior, White House officials have fretted over how Kelly plans to "limit access to certain highly classified information for those individuals working with interim clearance status", as laid out in the memo.

White House security clearances were thrust front-and-center this month following the departure of Trump's former staff secretary Rob Porter. Much, but not all, of Kushner's work on the two issues singled out by Kelly are handled at those lower levels, an official said.

But CNN reported earlier this month that dozens of White House officials have yet to receive full clearances from federal law enforcement. Kushner has said the omissions were inadvertent errors.

Ordinarily, security-clearance experts said, the failure to completely disclose all contacts would jeopardize an applicant's chances of obtaining final clearance.

At his news conference Friday, Trump defended his son-in-law, who he noted does not draw a salary.

Trump said he inherited a system that's broken.

The information was discovered in the course of Kushner's background check, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

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