President pressured staff to grant security clearance to Ivanka Trump

Source: CNN | March 5, 2019 | Pamela Brown and Kaitlan Collins

Washington (CNN) – President Donald Trump pressured his then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations, three people familiar with the matter told CNN.

The President’s crusade to grant clearances to his daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, rankled West Wing officials.

While Trump has the legal authority to grant clearances, most instances are left up to the White House personnel security office, which determines whether a staffer should be granted one after the FBI has conducted a background check. But after concerns were raised by the personnel office, Trump pushed Kelly and McGahn to make the decision on his daughter and son-in-law’s clearances so it did not appear as if he was tainting the process to favor his family, sources told CNN. After both refused, Trump granted them their security clearances.

The development comes on the heels of Thursday’s New York Times report that President Trump ordered Kelly to grant Kushner a top secret security clearance despite concerns raised by intelligence officials. The President has denied he had any role in Kushner receiving a clearance.

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