Trump adviser Jared Kushner gets permanent security clearance

Ruben Hill
May 24, 2018

President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been granted a security clearance after a lengthy background check, a move that ensures the key White House adviser with a broad global portfolio can have access to some of the country's most closely held secrets.

In February, Kushner was stripped of his temporary, high-level security clearance after White House chief of staff John Kelly imposed new rules created to crack down on West Wing staff with long-pending background investigations, sources told ABC News at the time.

At long last - after about a year and a half of delays - Jared Kushner has received full White House security clearance.

Kushner's Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks had dragged on for a year.

Mr Kushner was given a wide brief in his role as a White House adviser despite a lack of political experience.

Lowell, in a statement, said Kushner has cooperated fully with the investigation, including sitting for two interviews with the special counsel's office.

He said his client was "looking forward to continuing to do the work the president has asked him to do". Then, in mid-April, Kushner sat for six to seven hours of questions that covered many topics, including his work on the Trump campaign, the transition and in the White House and about Trump's decision in May 2017 to fire Comey, the person said. But attorney Edward MacMahon, who specializes in national security matters, suggested that the FBI would not have signed off on such a clearance if Kushner was a target of a ongoing criminal investigation.

"In each occasion, he answered all questions asked and did whatever he could to expedite the conclusion of all the investigation", Lowell said.

Lowell said that Kushner previous year became "one of the first to voluntarily cooperate with any investigation into the 2016 campaign and related topics".

The New York Times, which first broke the news of Kushner getting his security clearance, notes that the process took almost a year and a half, which Trump administration officials claim was due to Kushner's complex foreign business dealings. He could lose his clearance tomorrow if he is indicted. His clearance was suspended in February, however, as the White House faced blowback over the Rob Porter scandal.

Kushner serves as a senior adviser on the Middle East and other issues. Those clearances were stripped in February under a new White House policy.

Whether the restoration of Kushner's clearance is somehow related to his cooperation with Mueller is not immediately clear.

CNN pointed out, however, Kushner's perceived troubles were compounded at least in part because his initial security clearance application did not list dozens of foreign contacts that he included in later updated submissions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But a law enforcement source told that a major stumbling block was Kushner's failure, even on his re-submitted application, to mention the now-famous 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Kushner had to file three updates to his national security questionnaire, a form that guides the Federal Bureau of Investigation background check and asks for information about a person's employment history, finances, family, travel and other matters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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