Kushner resisting giving up top access amid scrutiny over security clearances: report

Kushner resisting giving up top access amid scrutiny over security clearances: report
© Greg Nash

White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Manafort’s plea deal — the clear winners and losers Five takeaways from Manafort’s plea deal MORE is resisting giving up his high-level access within the administration as chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE moves to address questions concerning the security clearance process, The New York Times reported Tuesday

Kushner has reportedly told other White House officials that he is hesitant to give up his access to the classified information, putting him at odds with Kelly. Kushner is one of several White House appointees still operating on an interim security clearance. 

Kelly announced in a memo last week that the administration would change its handling of interim security clearances and cut off certain clearances. 

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Kelly issued the memo after the White House faced criticism that Rob Porter, who resigned amid domestic abuse accusations, handled classified information on a temporary clearance despite an FBI background check that triggered concerns.

On Tuesday night, Kelly said in a statement that he would not comment on anyone's security clearance, but said he has “full confidence” in Kushner to continue handling his extensive responsibilities in regards to foreign policy matters.

“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,” Kelly said.

The White House went a step further earlier Tuesday, saying the changes will not affect Kushner.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpEx-Trump, progressive strategists battle over charges of anti-Semitism surrounding Eric Trump Ethics watchdog requests probe into Trump officials traveling to campaign events Trump praises Arizona governor's pick of Jon Kyl to succeed McCain MORE, reportedly have a tense relationship with Kelly. According to the Times, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE, who is Kushner's father-in-law, spent the weekend at Mar-a-Lago surveying people about whether he should fire Kelly.

Kushner has updated his security clearance forms a handful of times since Trump’s inauguration, including to add a number of foreign contacts he's had that weren’t previously listed.