In Congress, growing calls to revoke Jared Kushner’s security clearance

House Democrats are not backing down.

Jared Kushner attends a meeting in the White House (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Jared Kushner attends a meeting in the White House (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a number of House Democrats gave a press conference Friday calling for Jared Kushner’s security clearance to be “revoked immediately” given past and recent revelations of his contacts with foreign nationals.

Pelosi joins a growing number Democrats in Congress including Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.,) Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH.,) Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA.) who have vocalized their support for rescinding Kushner’s security clearance.

“It is absolutely ridiculous…the president can revoke that privilege at any moment,” said Pelosi. “And he should.”

Pelosi described Republicans in the House as “enablers” of constitutional violations. On Thursday, House Republicans blocked a proposed amendment by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) in a House Appropriations Committee markup session that was aimed at revoking Kushner’s security clearance. The measure would have prohibited the government from issuing or maintaining clearances to any White House individual “under a criminal investigation by a Federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee also called for Kushner’s security clearance to be reviewed and possibly revoked, in light of the “deeply disturbing” reports that Kushner met with an alleged former Soviet counterintelligence officer in a June 2016 arranged by Donald Trump Jr.

Concern over Jared Kushner’s security clearance are not new. In April, The New York Times revealed that Kushner had omitted dozens of meetings on his disclosure form, including a December meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The Kislyack meeting would later be the chief reason why former national security adviser retired Lt. General Michael Flynn would be fired from the administration after misleading Vice President Mike Pence on his contacts with the ambassador.

The same month Kushner met with Kislyack, he had another meeting he failed to disclose, this time, with Sergey Gorkov, president of a Russian state-run Vnesheconombank. The bank is currently under United States sanctions after Moscow annexed Crimea. At the time Kushner took the meeting, he was searching for investors to help finance a building on Fifth Avenue.

Section of the SF-86 security clearance form requesting disclosure of foreign contacts
Section of the SF-86 security clearance form requesting disclosure of foreign contacts

Scrutiny of the June 2016 meeting, which has centered around Trump Jr., could ultimately be much more damaging to Kushner.

After the election, Jared Kushner went on to work in the White House, while Trump Jr. returned to the Trump Organization. Kushner is in continuous contact with the country’s most sensitive national security issues. SF-86 forms are required to be 100% accurate. Kushner’s lawyers have claimed that staff members prematurely hit “send” on the clearance form before it was completed. He is currently operating under an interim clearance as he gathers information for the F.B.I in order to seek top-secret clearance. The higher clearance would give Kushner even more access to classified, sensitive information.

Kushner has updated his security clearance forms three now, adding more than 100 names. His lawyers discovered and amended his clearance to include the meeting discovered in the emails a few weeks ago. Kushner’s actions have the potential to set a dangerous precedent, allowing individuals with murky pasts to work in the White House.

Within the next couple of weeks Kushner is expected to cooperate with the Senate Intelligence Committee as it continues it’s investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.