The Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee has demanded that President Donald Trump and the White House order the release of records pertaining to the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s, security clearance. The committee says they have questions about how Kushner came to have top clearance despite objections from top officials, and whether reports that Trump personally interceded on his behalf are true. According to a piece published by HuffPost, the White House has been ignoring the committee’s requests for documents and witnesses for weeks.
But in the wake of an explosive New York Times article alleging that Trump personally ordered his top officials — like then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn — to give Kushner top clearance despite objections from career security officials and the CIA, it appears House Democrats are fed up.
“I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation,” said committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, in a March 1 letter addressed to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. The mention of “voluntary cooperation” is widely assumed to refer to a veiled threat of Rep. Cummings issuing a subpoena for the documents, which is within his power as the committee chair.
“If true,” the letter continues, “these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets.”
The White House has yet to comment on the demand.
The committee’s investigation of the decidedly unorthodox manner in which Kushner was granted top clearance (despite objections from numerous experts) began on January 23. Rep. Cummings says he and his staff have reached out to the White House multiple times, but that they have thus far been stonewalled.
Rep. Cumming’s letter included an interview with The New York Times, in which Trump denied that he had ordered anyone to grant Kushner clearance, although White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said — in a recent interview — that the president has “absolute authority” to grant clearance.
All of this controversy surrounding Kushner continues, even after he was given three chances to revise his security clearance forms — it was discovered that he omitted at least 100 foreign contacts and had left off information from his financial disclosure forms.
Indeed, the suspicions around Kushner and his clearances have gotten so grave that Fox News‘ Chris Wallace weighed in on the matter. Wallace questioned what exactly is behind all the misgivings security officials have about Kushner having access to the highest levels of government decision-making.
“You have to ask yourself… what was it that these people were so concerned about?” Wallace asked in a segment on Shepard Smith Reporting.