Conway: Trump has 'absolute right' to order security clearances

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE has the “absolute right” to involve himself in the security clearance process for White House staffers, senior adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Watchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom MORE said Friday.

Conway would not confirm or deny media reports that Trump ordered officials to give a top secret clearance to his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerFederal government pauses Kodak loan pending probes Beirut blast raises urgent questions about America's leadership in the world Lincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' MORE despite concerns from intelligence officials, but defended the president’s power to do so.

“We don’t discuss security clearances. I am not even going to discuss my own. But I will tell you that the president has the absolute right to do what was described,” Conway said in an interview with Fox News.

The revelation, first reported by The New York Times on Thursday, drew accusations of nepotism and impropriety from Democrats and contradicted statements made by the president and others that he had no role in Kushner receiving a clearance last year.


“I wouldn’t do it,” Trump told the Times in January when asked if he overruled security officials. “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.”

Trump’s daughter and senior aide Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpUS should support Ngozi for WTO Director General   Trump administration awarding M in housing grants to human trafficking survivors Deutsche Bank launches investigation into longtime banker of Trump, Kushner MORE also denied last month that her father was involved in clearances for her or Kushner, who is her husband.

“There were anonymous leaks about there being issues,” Trump said on ABC’s “The View.” “But the president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance, zero.”

Asked about Ivanka Trump’s remarks, Conway said “if Ivanka Trump chose to comment, then she probably has knowledge that some of us do not have so she has a right to do that.”

The president generally has the legal authority to grant clearances, but Trump reportedly arranged for his son-in-law to get one over objections from then-White House counsel Don McGahn and chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.

Career security personnel reportedly expressed concerns about Kushner’s family real estate business’ ties to foreign governments and his previously unreported contacts with foreign officials.

Kushner’s security clearance has come under scrutiny from House Democrats, who are investigating Trump’s administration and businesses.

Citing the Times report, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden comes to Washington to honor John Lewis Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis MORE (D-Md.) wrote a letter on Friday demanding that White House counsel Pat Cipollone be in “full and immediate compliance” with the panel’s request for documents and witnesses related to the clearance process.