Kelly says he has ‘full confidence’ in Kushner on foreign policy
White House chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday that he has “full confidence” in the ability of President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to continue in a senior role despite Kushner reportedly lacking a full security clearance.
“I will not comment on anybody’s specific security clearance situation or go beyond the memo released last week,” Kelly said in a statement reported by ABC News.
“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 added.
“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise.”
NEW: Gen. Kelly puts out a strong statement defending Jared Kushner’s status in the WH, says he has “full confidence” in his ability to continue Middle East peace & Mexico pic.twitter.com/gNon54ArrB
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) February 20, 2018
Kelly announced in a memo last week that the administration would limit temporary security clearances and cut off certain clearances for those whose clearance investigations have been pending since last June.
The memo follows a controversy over former Trump aide Rob Porter, who in his role as White House staff secretary handled classified information for months with only a temporary clearance even though his background check triggered concerns over past domestic abuse allegations.
Although Kushner has a temporary clearance that would expire in less than a week under the order issued by Kelly, the White House said Tuesday the memo won’t impact Kushner’s role as senior adviser to Trump.
“I can tell you that no decision within the memo will impact anything that Jared Kushner is working on. In terms of specifics on security clearance, I can’t get into that,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.