The consequences of the Democratic victory in the midterm elections became even more starkly clear today as two congressional Democrats — Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Don Beyer (D-VA) — called on White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to revoke the improperly approved security clearance for Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and nepotistic senior advisor, according to report today on The Hill.
The two congressmen wrote a letter to Mulvaney requesting that Kushner’s clearance be rescinded after an NBC News report last week revealed that two career White House security specialists had rejected the top-secret level clearance sought by the White House for the president’s son-in-law after his FBI background check “raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him.”
Despite the long-time security officials’ recommendations, the White House Director of Personnel Security, Trump appointee Carl Kline, overruled the lower-level professionals and granted Kushner the clearance he sought — as Kline had done in at least 30 other cases in the Trump administration.
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“We urge you to immediately revoke the security clearance of Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, and to comply with past and future oversight requests from Congress related to security clearances, information security, and other matters of national security,” Beyer and Lieu wrote in their letter.
The two Democrats also criticized the administration for its deceptive practices surrounding its security clearance procedures.
“The White House’s pattern of hiding the truth and devious behavior with regard to Mr. Kushner’s security clearance suggests that the Administration does not take information security seriously,” the lawmakers wrote. “This problem is underscored by NBC’s reporting that ‘Kushner’s was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top-secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information.'”
“The ongoing refusal of the Administration to abide by longstanding security clearance processes, coupled with its unwillingness to explain its actions to Members of Congress, increasingly seems like a coverup,” they wrote accusingly.
This was not the first time that these two representatives have urged the White House to revoke Kushner’s security clearance. When news of Kushner and his wife’s use of private email for government business emerged in 2017, coupled with Kushner’s failure to report his financial assets to the Office of Government Ethics within the required deadline, they made a similar demand. However, with the GOP in control of the House of Representatives at the time, they lacked the power to leverage the enforcement of their request.
Simultaneous to the letter from Congressmen Lieu and Beyer, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), is also investigating the security clearance process in the Trump administration that led to clearances being issued to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, former White House staff secretary Robert Porter and former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka.
Rep. Cummings stated that he launched the probe “to determine why the White House and Transition Team appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information, evaluate the extent to which the nation’s most highly guarded secrets were provided to officials who should not have had access to them, and develop reforms to remedy the flaws in current White House systems and practices.”
With Kushner in the crosshairs of both Congress and the Mueller investigation — and reportedly out of favor with the president over his bad advice during the government shutdown — it remains to be seen how much longer he will be able to remain a part of the administration.
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Original reporting by Cristina Marcos at The Hill.