President Trump’s Senior Advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner should be denied a security clearance – and the temporary approval he currently holds should be revoked – because he failed to disclose numerous foreign contacts on his required application for a top secret clearance, five Democratic Congressman announced in a letter to the FBI and U.S. Office of Personnel Management dated today.
“Lack of candor, particularly regarding contacts with Russian officials, was a significant issue for the Trump administration,” states the letter, which then cites the firing of National Security Advisors Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the election as evidence of the significance of the questions being raised.
“We are concerned Jared Kushner may have engaged in similar deceptions,” added the Congressman, noting it is a felony to intentionally withhold that information when applying for a top secret security clearance.
The Democratic members of the House who signed the letter are Don Beyer of Virginia, Ted Lieu of California, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Peter Welch of Vermont.
“Mr. Kushner’s lack of candor about meetings with Russian officials appears to be part of a larger pattern of dissembling and deception on Russian contacts from the Trump team,” adds the letter, “and we believe the public deserves the truth about what connection, if any, exists between these incidents.”
Some see the letter as a way for the Democrats to draw public attention back on the question of Russian interference in the 2016 election in order to help Trump. The Congressman believe Kushner’s omissions, first reported by the New York Times, have not gotten the attention it deserves because of the distraction of Trump’s attack on a Syrian airbase.
The Times story noted Kushner left out dozens of foreign contacts from his security request, most notably his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and with Sergey Gorkov, a prominent Russian banker and a graduate of the Academy of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia.
Kushner’s lawyer claims the omissions were just a mistake because of a rush to get the detailed forms completed, and has promised his client will provide additional and complete information to the FBI.
That is not good enough for the concerned Congressmen.
“Given the severity of the allegations and still unanswered questions about this administration’s recently uncovered covert deals with Russian government and intelligence officials,” adds the letter, “we are requesting that Mr. Kushner’s interim top secret security clearance be suspended pending a review of Mr. Kushner’s compliance with the laws and regulations governing security clearances.”
If Kushner were found guilty of purposely withholding information about his foreign contacts he could face up to five years in prison.
Kushner is also expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on what he knows about Russian efforts to swing the 2016 election to his father-in-law.
Trump has tapped Kushner for a number of highly sensitive missions, symbolized by his recent trip to Iraq to discuss military matters with the government there. He also has been present – as has his wife Ivanka – at sensitive meetings with world leaders and others to discuss highly confidential matters.
So his integrity is a huge legal issue that the Congressmen are quite right to raise.