Jared Kushner has been warned to come clean about his foreign contacts.
Donald Trump’s son-in-law has been one of the most crucial members of Trump’s inner circle ever since the real estate mogul announced his nomination to run for the presidency. He has been a chief adviser for Trump in foreign policy matters ever since he became president — most specifically about matters relating to the Middle East — with a report from Newsweek suggesting that Kushner was instrumental in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
As a consequence of Kushner managing some extremely important portfolios within the Trump administration, he regularly finds himself exposed to material that is highly sensitive in nature. Once a new administration kicks off — under normal circumstances — the innermost members of the president’s circle are granted permanent security clearances within a stipulated period of three months. But even after more than 13 months since Trump became president, Kushner has still not been granted a permanent security clearance.
It is an unusual situation, made all the more unusual since some believe Jared Kushner allegedly repeatedly lied on his security clearance forms or failed to divulge complete information about his contacts — an act which has historically seen culprits even jailed. Fox News host Shepard Smith underlined this point recently, expressing wonder at what had stopped Kushner from coming completely clean about his foreign contacts. As noted by Shepard, Kushner has made amendments at least three times to his security clearance forms, leading the conservative news host to dwell on the possible reasons behind it.
“There’s a Kushner problem at the White House”
“Jared Kushner submitted his application – his ‘SF-86’ as they call it – and did not include 100 contacts with foreigners, and then later had to go back and include them. But then later he did not include the meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer and the Russian translator. He didn’t include that. So that was another amendment to this thing. And that took this past June.”
Smith went on to speculate if lying on security clearance forms is “a crime punishable by prison.”
As it turns out, Smith’s suspicions about Jared Kushner’s difficult position are not wide off the mark. As the Washington Post reports, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is also overlooking the Mueller investigation, called the White House two weeks ago to warn them about the discovery of reported new information on Kushner. Rosenstein intended to speak to John Kelly but since the White House chief of staff was unavailable, Rosenstein spoke to White House counsel Donald McGahn instead, informing him that Kushner’s security clearance will take even longer on account of the new information.
The attorney general did not divulge what the new information was, or if it is the kind of material that could land Kushner in trouble, but the call has raised eyebrows from ethics watchdogs who have long been petrified by Kushner’s supposed penchant for not disclosing the full truth about his foreign contacts. The fact that Rosenstein is tightening the screws as Mueller’s investigation has acquired pace could put Kushner’s position in perspective.
Following the call, John Kelly informed staffers that those who don’t have a permanent security clearance may lose out on being party to future sensitive information. Trump could still grant Kushner access to classified material, but the president has deferred the decision on Kelly.
“I will let General Kelly make that decision, and he’s going to do what’s right for the country. And I have no doubt that he will make the right decision,” Trump said.
It seems likely that Jared Kushner’s past demeanors may soon come back to haunt him.