President Donald Trump personally ordered that his son-in-law Jared Kushner be granted a top-secret security clearance last year, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing four unnamed “people briefed on the matter.”
The report contradicted claims by Trump himself, Kushner’s lawyer, Ivanka Trump and others that Kushner had received the clearance as a result of the normal process, and without Trump’s help.
Though the President does have the authority to grant clearances, he did so in this case despite concerns raised by two senior White House officials at the time, chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn, the Times reported.
The Times reported on a memo McGahn wrote at the time that outlined concerns about the clearance, “including [those raised] by the CIA,” in the Times’ words. And Kelly wrote a memo detailing how he’d been “ordered” to grant the clearance, the Times reported.
The Times reported that, in May of last year, Trump ordered Kelly to arrange a top-secret clearance for Kushner the day after McGahn advised against it.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Times: “We don’t comment on security clearances.” A spokesperson for Kushner’s lawyer said that in 2018, “White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process.”
Per the Times, Kushner’s personnel file says he was granted an interim top-secret clearance in September 2017, only to have the clearance demoted to simply “secret” clearance in February 2018, in the wake of revelations that allegations of domestic abuse against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had come up during the background check process for his security clearance.
This post has been updated.