The White House should review Jared Kushner’s security clearance and suspend it in the meantime, a trio of Senate Democrats said in light of his newly disclosed 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer.
Three Senate Judiciary Committee members asked the administration Monday to reassess whether President Trump’s son-in-law should still have access to “highly classified national security information.”
Their letter, following up on a June 21 memo raising similar concerns, pointed to since-emerged “troubling new reports” of Kushner, along with Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort, meeting with a Russian lobbyist for dirt on Hillary Clinton.
“Mr. Kushner attended a meeting which was held with the stated purpose to receive Russian government information intended to influence a U.S. election. Mr. Kushner omitted this fact on his security clearance (form). Most disturbingly, Mr. Kushner sought a secret channel to communicate with the Kremlin,” Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) wrote.
“Given the enormity of the outstanding national security concerns regarding his conduct, Mr. Kushner should not retain access to our nation’s most critical secrets.”
The New York Times in April reported Kushner had neglected to disclose dozens of contacts he’d had with foreign officials — including meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and the president of state-owned Russian bank Vnesheconombank, Sergey Gorkov.
Kushner has added more than 100 names after amending his list of foreign contacts three times, the paper reported last week.
“Given Mr. Kushner’s pattern of delay in reporting contacts, we are deeply concerned that he may not have disclosed additional contacts with foreign individuals or had other inappropriate Russian contacts,” wrote Franken, Blumenthal and Hirono.
The three lawmakers aren’t alone in calling for a review of Kushner’s access: 52 House Democrats last month flat-out demanded the White House strip his security clearance.
President Trump has repeatedly defended his eldest son over the controversial 2016 meeting, dismissing it as “opposition research.”
“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent,” he tweeted Monday morning. “That’s politics!”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted his own spin at Monday’s off-camera briefing, claiming “there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for discussion of (Russian) adoption and the Magnitsky Act.”
But emails released last week by Trump Jr. showed him eagerly agreeing to a meeting that promised “information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia,” allegedly “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” the Trump son replied.