President Trump overruled intelligence officials last year who raised concerns about Jared Kushner’s security clearance, ordering former chief of staff John Kelly to give top secret clearance to Kushner, the New York Times revealed in an explosive report on February 28.
The Times report was based on contemporaneous memos written by Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn. Kelly wrote that Trump had “ordered” him to give the high-level clearance to Kushner. McGahn wrote that the C.I.A. had raised concerns about Kushner, and that McGahn himself had advised against giving the clearance to Kushner.
Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell have all said at various times that Trump was not involved in the process to award Kushner the clearance. The Times report does not detail what the intelligence community’s concerns about Kushner were, but says that they were related to contacts in Israel, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Kushner has been deeply involved with the Trump administration effort to develop a new Middle East peace plan. He is also reported to be close to Mohammad Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.
Jared Kushner Got Security Clearance on Trump’s Orders