Oversight Dem presses for Kushner subpoena

Oversight Dem presses for Kushner subpoena
© Getty Images

A senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is pressing GOP leaders for an emergency hearing to examine Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTenants in rent-controlled Kushner Cos. buildings say they were pushed out: report Mexico's president presses Pompeo on reuniting migrant families Hillicon Valley: Mueller indicts Russians for DNC hack | US officially lifts ZTE ban | AT&T CEO downplays merger challenge | Microsoft asks for rules on facial recognition technology | Dems want probe into smart TVs MORE’s continued role in the White House despite his recent security clearance downgrade.

Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog won’t drop Pruitt probes | Exxon leaves conservative advocacy group | Lawmakers offer changes to Endangered Species Act House Dem amendment seeks to ensure Pruitt probes are completed Dems struggle with unity amid leadership tensions MORE (D-Va.) is expressing “grave concerns” that Kushner, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser, has remained a key figure in the administration even after his top-secret security clearance was revoked by chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE last month. 

In a March 7 letter to Oversight Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy rules out Rosenstein impeachment Russians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit Gowdy: I don't think Mueller probe is a witch hunt MORE (R-S.C.), Connolly called for an immediate hearing into Kushner’s potential conflicts of interest — and a subpoena to compel Kushner’s testimony. 

“Mr. Kushner … has a well-documented record of misrepresenting his personal financial information and foreign contacts in his effort to obtain a permanent security clearance,” Connolly wrote. 

“Absent a hearing that includes Mr. Kushner’s testimony under oath, we can only guess why the FBI and White House have substantial concerns about Mr. Kushner’s access to our nation’s secrets.”

Connolly is pointing, in particular, to Trump’s decision this week to have Kushner spearhead sensitive talks with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose ongoing feud with Trump over construction of a border wall has strained relations between the two countries.

Kushner’s visit with Nieto came just days after The Washington Post reported that Mexico was among four countries that had sought “ways they could manipulate” Kushner by exploiting his inexperience in foreign policy and the financial difficulties facing his family’s real-estate empire.    

“Given this news,” Connolly wrote, “it is beyond troubling that the White House tapped Mr. Kushner to lead a U.S. delegation to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto this very week.”

Gowdy’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Kushner’s security clearance, which was granted with only a temporary status for more than a year, has been a source of contention since Trump took office. But the controversy has intensified in recent days after it was revealed that Kelly had stripped Kushner’s top-secret standing as part of a broader overhaul of the White House’s security policy.  

Fueling the critics, The New York Times reported that the Kushner family business had received hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from financial institutions in 2017 after Kushner met privately with the firms’ leaders at the White House.

A lawyer for Kushner told the Times he “has taken no part of any business, loans or projects with or for” Kushner Companies since becoming a White House employee. 

The steady drip of unflattering revelations has brought a new wave of Democratic attacks contending that Kushner is unfit for the foreign policy role he’s taken on.  

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTop Democrats request meeting with intel chief over sharing of classified info Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet 'Our Cartoon President' takes on Mueller probe, NATO and Melania in second season MORE (D-Calif.) said last week that Kushner should be removed from the White House altogether. And Connolly, pointing to the series of controversies, is accusing GOP leaders of sitting on their hands at the expense of national security.

“Silence in the face of the troubling issues raised by Mr. Kushner’s presence and behavior in the White House suggests a glaring double standard with respect to how we approach oversight and a woeful dereliction of our constitutional responsibilities,” Connolly wrote to Gowdy.