Trump ordered Kelly to grant Kushner security clearance: NY Times

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE reportedly ordered his former White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE last year to grant a security clearance to his son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates House Judiciary to vote to authorize subpoenas for Trump officials, immigration documents MORE.

The New York Times reports that Trump ordered Kelly in May to override the security concerns of top U.S. officials and grant a top-secret clearance to Kushner, whose clearance had been downgraded from that level earlier in the year.

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The report of Trump's order, which the Times said was documented at the time by Kelly in a memo, contradicts statements the president made to the newspaper last month in which he claimed he had no role in the reinstatement of his son-in-law's security clearance.

A spokesman for Abbe Lowell, Kushner's attorney, told the Times for its report Thursday that the White House conveyed to Kushner that his security clearance was handled under normal procedures.

“In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time," the spokesman said.

The White House declined to comment to the Times for its story, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “we don’t comment on security clearances."

In January, the president told the Times that he had no involvement in Kushner's security clearances, a statement contradicted by memos disclosed to the Times by multiple officials.

“I was never involved with the security” clearances for Kushner, Trump was quoted as saying last month. “I know that there was issues back and forth about security for numerous people, actually. But I don’t want to get involved in that stuff.”

The Times reports that Trump ordered Kushner be granted a top-secret clearance in May after the White House counsel's office issued its final recommendation against Kushner receiving the clearance.

Kelly resigned as Trump's chief of staff in December. Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Acosta out as Trump Labor secretary Pelosi reportedly told Trump deputy: 'What was your name, dear?' MORE, who previously led the White House Office of Management and Budget, has been serving as acting chief of staff.