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Oversight Dems Press the White House to Explain Why Kushner’s Clearance Has Not Been Suspended During Ongoing Investigation

Jun 21, 2017
Press Release

Oversight Dems Press the White House to Explain Why Kushner’s Clearance Has Not Been Suspended During Ongoing Investigation

 

Like Flynn, Kushner Failed to Disclose Meetings with Russians

 

Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2017)—Today, all Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus requesting documents about the decision by White House officials to disregard longstanding security clearance protocols by allowing Senior Advisor Jared Kushner to continue accessing classified information after he failed to disclose multiple meetings with Russian officials—including at least one joined by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at Trump Tower.

“Despite his multiple contacts with Russian officials and direct knowledge of General Flynn’s contacts, Mr. Kushner reportedly failed to disclose his contacts as part of his security clearance application process, and he failed to correct the public record after President Trump and other White House officials repeatedly made public statements denying contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials, even after the scandal surrounding General Flynn,” the Members wrote.  For example:

  • On November 11, 2016, a spokeswoman for the Trump transition team, Hope Hicks, stated:  “It never happened.  There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
  • On January 13, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described a timeline of communications between General Flynn and the Russian Ambassador that did not include the in-person meeting between Ambassador Kislyak, General Flynn, and Mr. Kushner at Trump Tower in December.
  • On January 23, 2017, when asked about interactions between General Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, Mr. Spicer disclosed two phone calls, but again omitted the in-person meeting in December between Ambassador Kislyak, General Flynn, and Mr. Kushner at Trump Tower.
  • On February 14, 2017, when asked whether he stood by the claim that no Trump team officials had any contacts with Russian officials during the campaign, Mr. Spicer responded:  “I don’t have any—there’s nothing that would conclude me—that anything different has changed with respect to that time period.”
  • On February 16, 2017, after firing General Flynn for failing to disclose his communications with the Russian Ambassador, President Trump held a press conference during which he offered this blanket denial when asked if any other member of his team had contacts with the Russian officials:  “I have nothing to do with Russia.  To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does.”
  • On February 20, 2017, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated:  “This is a non-story because to the best of our knowledge, no contacts took place, so it’s hard to make a comment on something that never happened.”

“Mr. Kushner failed to correct any of these omissions or the misleading impression they left on the American public,” the Members wrote.  “In addition, as with General Flynn, it appears that Mr. Kushner allowed his colleagues at the White House—and the American people—to be misled about his multiple communications with Russian officials.”

“We do not know who at the White House—other than General Flynn—knew about Mr. Kushner’s multiple contacts with Russian officials before they became public,” the Members wrote.  “It would be gravely concerning if Mr. Spicer, Ms. Hicks, Ms. Sanders, or President Trump were aware of Mr. Kushner’s Russian contacts when they made their misleading statements.  It would also be concerning if Mr. Kushner concealed his Russian contacts from them and allowed them to continue making misleading and inaccurate public statements while also omitting these contacts from his security clearance application.  In any case, it is unclear why Mr. Kushner continues to have access to classified information while these allegations are being investigated.”

The Members cited multiple sources, including Executive Order 12968 and multiple agency guidance documents, directing security clearances to be suspended “when information of obvious security concern develops.”

Their letter requested all documents and communications referring or relating to the security clearances of Kushner, Flynn, and other White House officials by July 5, 2017.

Click here to read today’s letter.

 

 

115th Congress