Now that the security clearance status of various senior advisors to Donald Trump is being questioned, politicians and the media are asking about the pending security clearance of Trump son in law Jared Kushner, a Trump employee, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the president, who has some level of clearance, despite not drawing a salary or having a job title. Experts are saying that Jared Kushner has not been allowed full security clearance based on discrepancies in his security disclosures, but Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says that if financial discrepancies are truly what is keeping Kushner from getting clearance, why has Ivanka Trump been allowed security access with the same problems on her security disclosure forms. Cardin believes that both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have active conflicts of interest that should prevent them from having security clearance.
Concerns About The Security Clearance Status Of Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner
Before it was made public that Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr. met with Russians at Trump Tower (a meeting that would have caused concern in a background check for security clearance), it was noted that there were financial matters undisclosed on the security forms of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. At the minimum, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner possess an extensive art collection that is valued at $25 million, but they did not disclose this on the financial forms required to gain any level of security clearance.
“Yet in required financial disclosures, Kushner, a senior advisor and son-in-law to President Trump, failed to report the couple’s art collection.”
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner claimed their art collection is simply for pleasure, and so they didn’t know they had to disclose it. The forms clearly state that government employees must disclose any artwork valued over $1,000.
Senator Ben Cardin Wrote A Letter To The Sec. Of The Treasury About Ivanka Trump Security Clearance
But now that the Rob Porter scandal is shining a bright light on the fact that Trump son in law Jared Kushner still doesn’t have a full security clearance, people are now asking about Ivanka Trump’s clearance, and if her access needs to be reviewed, says Newsweek. Senator Ben Cardin says that his concern about Ivanka Trump’s security clearance goes deeper than her art collection, and he started expressing his concern in October in an official letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin. Cardin believes that like Kushner, Ivanka Trump still seems to have on-going business interests that are benefitting from her post in the Trump White House. Cardin says Ivanka Trump has a conflict of interest that should threaten her security clearance.
“I don’t question Ivanka Trump’s sincerity to advance a cause she feels deeply about while making money—that’s great, that’s America. What is not allowed is for anyone to profit off holding a public position. We should have full disclosure of all her financial interests, and when you don’t have that, it raises serious questions. Does that involve her security clearance? Absolutely.”
Cardin said that in the Trump White House it’s okay to keep your business interests up and running as long as there is not a daily connection, and that is against stated government rules.
“The climate in the White House is that you can have business interests in your official capacity that will clearly have implications on your own business. But as long as there is no official connection of the dots, it’s considered OK. It’s not OK.”
Cardin says that the same limbo that has prevented Jared Kushner from getting full security clearance also applies to Ivanka Trump. While working in the White House and having contact with foreign governments (Kushner had to update his security disclosure form, SF-86 form with 100 meetings with foreign sources), Jared Kushner has continued to make money through foreign business interests. Cardin expresses in the letter that the same is true for Ivanka Trump.
“We are concerned that Ivanka Trump may have engaged in similar deception.”
Ivanka Trump Friendship With Wendi Deng Has Raised Eyebrows About Security Clearance Concerns
Recently, Fortune has raised another concern about the security clearance of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Ivanka Trump has expressed that one of her closest friends is Wendi Deng Murdoch, former wife of media magnate Rupert Murdoch. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have socialized and even traveled with Wendi Deng Murdoch, and intelligence officials have raised concern about this relationship.
“Intelligence officials warned Jared Kushner that Wendi Deng Murdoch, the ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, could be using her close relationship with Kushner and Ivanka Trump to further the interests of the Chinese government.”
The Senate is hopeful that this new scrutiny into security clearance will involve a tightening up of the clearance situation in the White House.