Jared Kushner is in the spotlight this week because the White House is delaying his security clearance. With Paul Manafort being charged in the Robert Mueller investigation, some think this is an opening to go closer toward President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
According to USA Today, Kushner has been allowed an interim security clearance for more than a year now. Even though Trump deferred the focus of his clearance to John Kelly, who he said would have the final say on the topic, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders still sticks with Kushner.
“I can tell you that nothing has taken place will affect the valuable work that Jared is doing. He continues, and will continue, to be a valued member of the team.”
So far, there are no clear allegations on Kushner, but his clearance was delayed because he failed to “disclose contacts with Russian nationals and others.”
In the tedious background check, Charles Phalen, the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, said Kushner’s SF-86, the security clearance questionnaire, has been updated because he failed to include “meeting with foreign officials,” CNN reports.
Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked Phalen if he could recall any other applicant who submitted four addenda with over “100 errors and omissions.” Phalen was astounded to admit that he has never seen “the breadth” of the applications, “but I have never seen that level of mistakes.”
Kushner initially omitted the meetings with Russian officials, but once the meetings were made public, he revised his application since Donald Trump, Jr. has already revealed he met with the Russians for the promise of “very high level and sensitive information” to combat Hillary Clinton.
Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, came to his defense saying the initial applications were prematurely submitted.
Kushner, Russia, And Mueller’s Bull’s Eye
With the dozens of staffers in the White House with definite role and job descriptions, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were the exception, according to AOL. Kelly was the one tasked to do the overhaul on the security clearances and this made Kushner feel like Kelly “has targeted him personally.” The real estate businessman was reported to be “frustrated about the security clearance issue.”
The GOP has tried its hardest by releasing the Devin Nunes memo that did nothing but backfire, as previously reported on Inquisitr. Now that Kushner’s clearance issue has been related to Russian ties, it is highly possible for the Mueller investigation to get him on the list of indicted parties.
According to the Washington Post, a senior administration official close to Kelly’s operations said Kelly himself was frustrated with Kushner’s clearance since this could “jeopardize” the West Wing. Kelly also laid out new policies to expedite the FBI investigation on the clearances.
“The events of the last ten days have focused immense attention on a clearance process that has been in place for multiple administrations,” Kelly wrote. “We should — and in the future, must — do better.”
The changes are expected to roll out next week, but with Trump’s confidence on Kelly’s decision on the clearances, some doubt if Kushner would really be affected by the overhaul.
With the security clearance he has now, Kushner performs high level tasks on behalf of the U.S. government, including overseeing peace talks in the Middle East. Kushner also has access to President Trump’s daily briefings and more confidential intelligence updates from spies, satellites, and other surveillance technology.
Evan Lesser, president and founder of ClearanceJobs, said it is very rare to have an interim security clearance, especially for someone who has never served the government but has “a complex history of financial transactions, business ownership and contacts and dealings with foreigners.”
Though Kushner’s side tries to defend the addendum made on his application, there is a very high chance the Mueller team could take a closer look. In fact, it has been reported that during interviews with witnesses, Mueller’s investigators have already asked about Kushner’s connections with foreign officials.
Michael Wolff, the author of explosive White House revelation book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, said he believes Kushner will be indicted. According to BreakingNews, the author told Armando Iannucci in central London that this will be the “bloodiest time in this administration.”
“I think that there is a pretty good possibility at this point that Jared will be indicted.”
Wolff said that since that is a very high possibility, the question is not whether the family will bring Kushner down, but it would have to be on whether Ivanka’s husband would turn the tables around.
“So the more direct question is will Trump throw his son-in-law under the bus, and then the corollary to that is will his son-in-law throw his father-in-law under the bus? And I think the answer to both of those questions is yes.”