House Dems to call on Trump to fire Kushner

House Dems to call on Trump to fire Kushner
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A small group of House Democrats are circulating a letter to send to President Trump urging him to dismiss his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, over his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.

The letter, which has so far drawn nine signatures, comes a few days after Kushner made back-to-back appearances behind closed doors with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to discuss a June 2016 meeting with a woman described as a Russian government lawyer offering dirt on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE.

“Your son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner is currently under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” the lawmakers behind the letter write, according to a draft obtained by The Hill.

“He is also plainly unfit for the highly influential position he currently occupies. We write to urge you in the strongest possible terms to dismiss him immediately.”

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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who along with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), is spearheading the effort, said Thursday that the letter is intended to keep pressure on the White House. The husband of Ivanka Trump, who is now a senior White House adviser responsible for a broad international portfolio, has become a flashpoint in the political imbroglio surrounding Trump and Russia.

Signees so far include the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).

Gallego said he has not approached Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about the initiative. Pelosi has called for Kushner to lose his security clearance, but has stopped short of demanding he be fired.

Kushner has drawn scrutiny not only for the Trump Tower meeting, but also for repeated omissions on his government security clearance form — known as SF-86 — including that meeting. Those omissions would be a felony if intentional.

“Why is he even still there? The idea that he still has a job is absolutely ridiculous,” Gallego said Thursday. “Anyone else would have already been fired or had federal charges filed for erroneous entries into SF-86.”

In a public statement issued Monday, Kushner characterized the omissions as an honest mistake made by an assistant, not an effort to hide Russian contacts. The mistakes were quickly corrected, he said.

All of his foreign contacts were initially missing from disclosure forms filed with the government, he said, not just the encounters with Russian officials.

"Over the last six months, I have made every effort to provide the FBI with whatever information is needed to investigate my background," he wrote. “I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required.”

In a rare public appearance on Monday afternoon, Kushner insisted that all of his actions during the campaign and the transition had been “proper.”

“Let me very clear: I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner told reporters outside of the White House.

According to Kushner’s account of the June 2016 meeting, which was set up by the president’s eldest son, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE Jr., he arrived late and left after only 10 minutes.

He said the conversation was centered on Russian adoptions when he arrived. Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012 blocked adoptions from Russia by U.S. citizens in response to sanctions imposed on Moscow over human rights violations. Both the lawyer and a Russian-American lobbyist at the meeting had been working to remove or modify those restrictions.

Kushner said he had no follow up to the meeting, there was no exchange of documents and he did not recall all of the people present.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have described Kushner’s answers as forthright and satisfactory, while committee Democrats have raised the prospect that they might want to bring Kushner back for a second appearance.