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 KushnerA question of privilege: How Trump could still gut the Mueller report Ex-White House ethics chief compares Ivanka, Kushner security clearances to college admissions scandal Nadler: Half of Trump probe targets likely to comply with document requests MORE, who is also President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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. McGahnEx-White House ethics chief compares Ivanka, Kushner security clearances to college admissions scandal Dem compares college cheating scandal to Ivanka, Jared's security clearance Senate Dems request probe of White House security clearances 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. LieuHouse Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration Watchdog organization calls for investigation into Kushner clearance Dems call for criminal probe into Kushner's security clearance 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.