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

President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE has the “absolute right” to involve himself in the security clearance process for White House staffers, senior adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayPence urges 'positive' agenda to counter Biden in first speech since leaving office Kellyanne Conway joins Ohio Senate candidate's campaign Mark Zuckerberg, meet Jean-Jacques Rousseau? 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 KushnerNew Kushner group aims to promote relations between Arab states, Israel Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Iran moves closer to a diplomatic breakthrough that may upset Israel 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 TrumpIvanka TrumpIvanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Jill Biden a key figure in push to pitch White House plans CNN: Trump advisers urge him to make pro-vaccine PSA 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 CummingsOvernight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special ObamaCare enrollment until August Pelosi: Drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package Bottom line 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.