Kushner Can Work On Peace Talks Amid Security Clearance Tensions, Kelly Says
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nothing should keep Jared Kushner from pressing ahead in trying to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace, the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, said as reports of a rift between Kelly and President Donald Trump’s key adviser proliferated.
“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 a statement released Tuesday to The New York Times.
The Times had asked Kelly about reports that he is rolling back security access for staffers whose security clearance is still pending. Kelly did not directly reply to that line of query, instead releasing the statement on Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law and is Jewish.
“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president’s agenda,” Kelly said of Kushner. “There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise.”
Kushner leads a team attempting to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Middle East negotiators traditionally are privy to some of the most sensitive U.S. intelligence about the region.
Kushner has been waiting for clearance for a year. It is not clear what is causing the delay, but Kushner is a focus of a special prosecutor’s investigation of alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and also is known to be deeply in debt, including to overseas lenders, from his real estate ventures.
Kushner, according to The Times, believes he has been unfairly singled out by Kelly, who has been tasked with reforming a chaotic White House.