House Democrats call for revoking Kushner’s security clearance

House Democrats call for revoking Kushner’s security clearance
© Greg Nash

A group of House Democrats is calling for Jared Kushner’s security clearance to be suspended amid a federal investigation into whether associates of President Trump were in contact with Russian government officials during the 2016 campaign.  

The New York Times reported last week that Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, failed to disclose contacts with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and the head of Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank while applying for a top-secret security clearance.

Kushner’s lawyer told the Times that the omissions were an error because the questionnaire detailing all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years was submitted prematurely. Kushner’s office told the FBI he would provide additional information and holds an interim security clearance for now.

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In a letter led by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to FBI Director James Comey and Charles Phalen, director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, the lawmakers expressed concern that Kushner deliberately wasn’t forthcoming about his contacts with Russian officials.

Two top Trump officials have gotten in hot water because of contacts with the Russian ambassador. Michael Flynn was ousted as Trump’s national security adviser in February for misleading the public about his contacts with Kislyak, and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock MORE recused himself from the Russia investigation after failing to disclose his contacts with Kislyak to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We are concerned that Jared Kushner may have engaged in similar deception,” wrote Beyer and four other Democrats: Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) and Peter WelchPeter WelchTrump talks tough but little action seen on drug prices Frustrated with Trump, Dems introduce drug pricing bill Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (Vt.). 

“Given the severity of the allegations and still unanswered questions about this administration’s recently uncovered covert dealing with Russian government and intelligence officials, 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 regulation governing security clearances.”

Withholding or misrepresenting information on the application for a security clearance can result in loss of access to classified information, prosecution or rejection for a job requiring access to sensitive information. Knowingly falsifying facts can result in fines or up to five years in prison. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee has said it plans to interview Kushner over his role arranging meetings between campaign advisers and foreign leaders such as the Russian ambassador.