Democrats on the House Oversight Committee asked White House chief of staff Reince Priebus Wednesday to produce documents explaining why senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance hasn’t been revoked amid reports he’s under investigation for failure to disclose multiple meetings with Russian officials.
In a letter sent to Priebus, House Democrats outlined several instances in which Kushner either failed to disclose meetings or failed to correct public record after White House officials repeatedly denied communication between President Donald Trump’s team and Russia.
For example, on Jan. 13, when White House press secretary Sean Spicer shared a timeline of interactions between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, but failed to share information about an in-person meeting between Kislyak, Flynn and Kushner at Trump Tower in December.
“We do not know who at the White House — other than General Flynn — knew about Mr. Kushner’s multiple contacts with Russian officials before they became public. It would be gravely concerning if Mr. Spicer, Ms. (Hope) Hicks, Ms. (Sarah Huckabee) Sanders or President Trump were aware of Mr. Kushner’s Russian contacts when they made their misleading statements. It would also be concerning if Mr. Kushner concealed his Russian contacts from them and allowed them to continue making misleading and inaccurate public statements while also omitting these contacts from his security clearance application,” the letter, signed by 18 House Democrats, said.
“In any case, it is unclear why Mr. Kushner continues to have access to classified information while these allegations are being investigated,” they added.
Members defended their request by citing Executive Order 12968, which directs government officials to suspend the security clearance of an employee who has credible allegations against them, at least while an investigation into those allegations is taking place.
“Security clearances are suspended at the beginning of this process rather than at the end because the presumption under the Executive Order is always to protect against threats to national security,” the letter said.
In addition to documents on Kushner, committee members asked for information about the security clearances of Flynn, who was allowed to stay in his position for 18 days after the White House was warned about Flynn’s actions, by July 5, 2017.