Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Trump son-in-law Kushner loses top security clearance

‘WHAT DOES IT TAKE?’:The ‘Washington Post’ reported that nations such as China and Israel have discussed how to leverage Kushner’s vulnerabilities

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner has lost his top-level security clearance, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The White House refused to comment on the record, but officials said that the decision would not effect Kushner’s role.

Still, Kushner’s loss of access casts serious doubt on his status as a powerbroker inside the White House and his ability to negotiate Middle East peace.

Former US negotiator Aaron David Miller said Kushner now risks losing “credibility” with interlocutors in the Middle East.

Kushner’s lawyer had earlier said that he has not yet completed the formal clearance procedure, despite reportedly getting access to the most secret material contained in the president’s daily briefing.

White House chief of staff John Kelly ordered changes to the clearance system after a top aide, Rob Porter, worked for months without full clearance because of allegations he abused both his former wives.

“I will not comment on anybody’s specific security clearance,” Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly has told Kushner he had “full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio, including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico.”

“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise,” Kelly added.

The security clearance of Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, has also been in question.

For nearly any staffer other than Kushner, his future in the White House would now be under serious doubt.

He had already been forced to repeatedly revise statements to US intelligence and law enforcement about his contacts with foreign officials and his business interests.

Even before the security clearance news broke, close Kushner adviser Josh Raffel announced he was leaving the White House and Kushner was accused of breaking the “Hatch Act,” which forbids, among other things, White House aides from using their official titles in campaign statements.

Later, the Washington Post reported that at least four foreign governments — China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates — had considered how to leverage Kushner’s business and political vulnerabilities.

That sparked several calls from lawmakers for Kushner to step down.

“So what DOES Jared have to do to get fired?” US Representative Ruben Gallego said on Twitter.

The answer to that question remains unclear.

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