Kushner resisting giving up top access amid scrutiny over security clearances: report

Source: The Hill | February 20, 2018 | Brett Samuels

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is resisting giving up his high-level access within the administration as chief of staff John Kelly moves to address questions concerning the security clearance process, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Kushner has reportedly told other White House officials that he is hesitant to give up his access to the classified information, putting him at odds with Kelly. Kushner is one of several White House appointees still operating on an interim security clearance.

Kelly announced in a memo last week that the administration would change its handling of interim security clearances and cut off certain clearances.

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On Tuesday night, Kelly said in a statement that he would not comment on anyone’s security clearance, but said he has “full confidence” in Kushner to continue handling his extensive responsibilities in regards to foreign-policy matters.

“As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico,” Kelly added.

“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise,” Kelly said.

The White House went a step further earlier Tuesday, saying the changes will not affect Kushner.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, reportedly have a tense relationship with Kelly. According to the Times, President Trump, who is Kushner’s father-in-law, spent the weekend at Mar-a-Lago surveying people about whether he should fire Kelly.

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