Watchdog organization calls for investigation into Kushner clearance

Watchdog organization calls for investigation into Kushner clearance
© Greg Nash

A watchdog group monitoring ethics in government on Thursday called for an investigation into the security clearance granted to White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump pushing for GOP donor's company to get border wall contract: report Trump family members will join state visit to UK Top Palestinian negotiator: Trump wants our surrender MORE, who is also President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE's son-in-law.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said in a press release that Kushner and others at the White House were granted top-secret security clearances despite the recommendations of Donald McGahnDonald (Don) F. McGahnElection agency limps into 2020 cycle The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems face tricky balancing act after Mueller report MORE, who was White House counsel at the time.

Those clearances, CREW argued, must be examined to determine whether the president played a role in directing the clearances be granted despite the counsel of McGahn and top security personnel.

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“It is deeply concerning that Jared Kushner and more than 30 other White House staffers were granted clearances against the advice of career security specialists,” CREW director Noah Bookbinder said in the press release.

“The American public deserves to know the circumstances in which the president’s son-in-law was granted access to our nation’s most sensitive information despite security concerns and whether or not his access presents an ongoing national security threat," he continued.

"The [Inspector General of the Intelligence Community] must immediately investigate how this happened and what role the President played in the process and must determine whether or not Kushner and others are eligible to hold their clearances," he said.

Kushner's top-secret clearance came under scrutiny this month after it was reported by multiple outlets that Trump had ordered the clearance be granted, despite his past statements.

Two lawmakers, Reps. Ted LieuTed W. LieuHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senators introduce bill to end warrantless searches of electronic devices at border House Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) have also called for an investigation into the matter.

"We are deeply disturbed by recent reports that President Trump ordered his Chief of Staff, John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, to grant Jared Kushner a security clearance, overruling intelligence officials who raised concerns about the clear national security risks of doing so," the two wrote to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday.

"Taken together with previous reports that Mr. Kushner omitted contacts with more than one hundred foreign persons on his clearance forms – including the Russian Ambassador – we request that the Department of Justice open an immediate investigation to determine if Mr. Kushner is criminally liable for his false statements," Lieu and Beyer added.