Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has pushed back on chief of staff John Kelly’s effort to rein in the use of interim security clearance and argued that he needs to keep his interim access to classified material, the New York Times reported Tuesday night, citing White House officials and others briefed on the situation.
Following the firing of Rob Porter and revelations that he was able to use an interim security clearance despite allegations of domestic abuse, Kelly has set out to reform the security clearance process in the White House. He issued a memo last week declaring that anyone who has been operating with an interim security clearance since June will see that access revoked until they obtain a full clearance, and that the White House will continue to assess who can keep a security clearance.
Kushner has come under increased scrutiny since Porter’s ouster because he has reportedly been working on an interim clearance for more than a year and has filed several updates to his lists of foreign contacts and financial assets.
Kushner told colleagues that he does not want to give up his interim clearance and insisted that he must maintain his access, according to the New York Times. Kushner also feels personally targeted by Kelly’s memo, officials told the Times. However, others familiar with Kushner’s thinking denied to the New York Times that he feels singled out by Kelly or that he has resisted Kelly’s efforts.
The White House said Tuesday that Kushner’s work will not be impacted by Kelly’s changes to the security clearance process but did not acknowledge whether Kushner’s interim clearance would be revoked.
“Mr. Kushner’s work that he has done will not be impacted and he’s going to continue to do the work that he’s done over the last year,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during the daily briefing.
Kelly echoed Sanders in a statement to the New York Times.
“As I told Jared days ago, I have 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,” Kelly said in the statement.