Kushner's Security Clearance Just Got More Complicated

Justice Department warns White House it needs more time to investigate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2018 5:57 AM CST
Trump: I Won't Intervene on Kushner's Security Clearance
Jared Kushner takes a phone call before a Security Council meeting on the situation in Middle East Feb. 20, 2018.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Jared Kushner may be a top adviser to President Trump, but his authority to view classified information is looking dicier by the day. In fact, it may already have been revoked. As part of chief of staff John Kelly's newly tightened restrictions in the wake of the Rob Porter scandal, those without a permanent security clearance could be barred from seeing classified information as of Friday. Kushner remains in that "interim" group, and his father-in-law made clear on Friday that while he could overrule Kelly, he would not do so. “That’ll be up to Gen. Kelly,” Trump said at the White House, per Politico. “Gen. Kelly respects Jared a lot and Gen. Kelly will make that call. I won’t make that call.” Based on a new Washington Post story, Kushner's permanent approval by the Justice Department still has a ways to go.

The Post story says that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein informed White House attorney Donald McGahn two weeks ago that his department needed additional time to investigate "significant" new information that has turned up about Kushner's background. The story doesn't specify the details, and it's possible that Rosenstein didn't spell them out for McGahn. One tangled possibility raised by the Post is that the new information is related to the Robert Mueller investigation, also overseen by the Justice Department, perhaps involving Kushner's contacts with foreign officials. No word on when Kelly will issue a decision on Kushner. Earlier this week, he said he had "full confidence in (Kushner's) ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio." (More Jared Kushner stories.)

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