Fox News’ Chris Wallace raised a question Friday about why the CIA and White House officials were reportedly dead-set against granting top security clearance to Jared Kushner, son-in-law of President Donald Trump.
“You have to ask yourself … what was it that these people were so concerned about?” Wallace asked (see the video above at 9:10).
The Fox News host addressed the issue on “Shepard Smith Reporting” the day after The New York Times reported that Trump had dismissed concerns about Kushner and demanded last May that the White House senior adviser be given top-secret clearance — over the objection of intelligence agencies.
John Kelly, White House chief of staff at the time, was so infuriated that he wrote an internal memo stating he had been “ordered” to grant the clearance, sources told the Times. Both Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump have insisted that the president had nothing to do with Kushner’s clearance.
Security officials, Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn were determined to continue to oppose “something they knew the president wasn’t going to like — refusing to give a top-security clearance to Jared Kushner,” said Wallace.
The Times report did not reveal the specific nature of the officials’ concerns. Some observers believe Kushner’s multiple international business interests and unreported contacts with foreign agents triggered worries about risks to the nation’s most sensitive security information.
Both White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said they couldn’t comment on security issues.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) complained Friday that the White House has repeatedly denied the House oversight committee’s requests for documents concerning Kushner’s clearance.
Cummings wrote in a letter Friday to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that if the Times reports are true, they “raise grave questions about what derogatory information … [was] obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role … and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this Committee.”