It has been almost a year since Trump took office and brought members of his family into the White House with him, giving them jobs to do. This included his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, but an entire year has gone by with Kushner enjoying the unrestricted movement through the White House that is usually reserved for someone who has the proper security clearance, yet his clearance has still not come through.
Questions are emerging today concerning this rather odd arrangement with Jared Kushner when it comes to proper security clearance. According to Newsweek, despite being Trump’s son-in-law, he has still not received full security clearance and they have been able to work around that by placing Kushner under an “interim” status.
“The unprecedented delay in clearance represents a violation of security norms and suggests that Kushner continues to receive special treatment due to his relationship to President Donald Trump, according to legal experts familiar with the process,” Newsweek reports. With that said, the White House continues its stand conveying that this time-delay is “completely normal.”
The White House maintains that when you are in an advisory position and you work extremely close with the president, there is extra scrutiny when it comes to the vetting for this clearance. Kushner will need the highest level of security clearance for the position he is in. According to a White House official, the process has been known to have taken up to 300 days.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 18, 2018
Kushner’s security delay has surpassed that 300 day mark by about two months. Since his security clearance was applied for, 362 days have passed, and it is “not normal,” according to Jordan Libowitz, who is the communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The reason that it is taking so long for Jared’s clearance to come through is because “Jared has had issues with accuracy, both in his security clearance forms and financial disclosures.”
Libowitz told Newsweek that Kushner has “had to amend his forms to add quite a few contacts with Russians, and he’s amended his financial disclosures 39 times.” Libowitz went on to say that amending financial forms one or two times is something that no one would “bat an eye over,” but what is going on with Kushner is “unprecedented.”
“It was revealed Kushner failed to disclose an encounter with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as is required when applying for security clearance,” according to the New York Daily News. This is in addition to the 39 amendments he had to make to his financial disclosure.
Libowitz is very doubtful that Kushner would still be at the White House if he wasn’t related to the president. His interim security clearance was a “quick fix” so he could work on sensitive materials. Kushner is allowed to access classified information, even though his security clearance is still a work in process and this has some experts concerned.
— Charles Lohr III (@lohr_iii) January 18, 2018
Joseph Kaplan, who is the founding principal attorney at Passman & Kaplan, P.C., spoke with Newsweek last month and he said if Kushner “was anybody else, his security clearance would have already been denied” and he would be out the door of the White House. He said that if Kushner was working for any other U.S. government department and the issues he is dealing with right now arose, he would be “off the job.”
Jared’s stake in a New York building development is an issue that could quite possibly get him suspended from his interim security clearance, said Libowitz. Kaplin said that if Jared was working for any other arm of the government and these issues came up such as, “falsifying a clearance or omitting information…his access would be first suspended. And then if there’s no other position he could hold, he’d be out of work without pay.”
Legal experts who specialize in security clearance told Newsweek that the interim clearance Kushner has now should be suspended until the investigators can determine that he passes the criteria for clearance. Libowitz finished up by pointing to the question people should be asking Trump today is — “Would he accept this from anyone else?” If that answer is “no” then you want to find out why he would accept this from Kushner?