For Jared Kushner, the more we learn about details related to his top secret security clearance, the worse things seem to get. Since Democrats took over the House Oversight Committee in January, they have been asking the White House to provide the records related to Kushner’s top secret security clearance. They are particularly interested in records relating to the fact that Kushner was denied the highest levels of clearance until Trump ordered that it be granted. This past week the White House declined to provide those documents. Normally this would have forced the committee to issue a subpoena, which likely would have led to a drawn out legal fight between the committee and the White House.
In a stunning twist of events however, we learned Friday that documents detailing the year-long security clearance process for both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump had already been leaked to the committee by someone from inside the White House. Axios reported that the House Oversight Committee had already obtained the documents in question, including the timeline of events and the people involved, into how the top secret security clearances were ultimately granted to both Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Congressman Ro Khanna, a member of the House Oversight Committee, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show Friday night to speak about some of the information and concerns related to this issue. During the interview with guest host Joy Reid, Khanna noted that both former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn were so opposed to Kushner being granted top secret clearance, they felt it necessary to document their reasoning in contemporaneous memos. Khanna doesn’t believe that the committee has a copy of those memos yet, but it is certainly within the power of the committee to subpoena either McGahn and/or Kelly to testify as to their concerns and the contents of the memo.
Khanna seemed particularly alarmed about Jared Kushner’s relationship with the Saudis in general, and his closeness to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) in particular. He pointed to the fact that Kushner has access to the president’s daily briefing, which includes lists of Saudi dissidents. He also pointed to reporting that Kushner allegedly provided these lists to MBS.
What were the reasons Jared Kushner was originally denied top secret clearance? Why was it necessary for Kushner to modify his disclosures so many times? Why were McGahn and Kelly so opposed to Kushner being granted top secret clearance? Has Kushner been providing the Saudis with American intelligence in return for their financial support of his real estate empire? These are likely only some of the questions the House Oversight committee is interested in. As of Friday we know they are much closer to finding those answers than either Kushner or the White House would like.
Adrienne Lilly lives in Upstate New York with her two children. She works as a manufacturing engineer.