WASHINGTON — Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., has some questions about President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
Beyer put together a group of over 20 Democratic members of the House of Representatives who sent a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Wednesday asking him to “conduct a review of a potentially serious issue involving First Daughter and Assistant to the President, Ivanka Trump.” The group wants to know if Ivanka properly filled out Standard Form 86 (SF-86), which is the security clearance required for federal officials.
Their questions stem from recent revelations involving Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a top White House adviser, and her brother, Donald Trump Jr. The SF-86 asks whether “you or any member of your immediate family” has had “any contact” with a “foreign government, its establishment … or its representatives” in the past seven years. Kushner has updated his security clearance forms three times to add over 100 foreign contacts, including a meeting he attended with Donald Trump Jr. during last year’s presidential election, where they spoke with a Russian lawyer who offered them damaging information on President Trump’s opponent on behalf of the Russian government. Beyer said the news raised questions about whether Ivanka has also updated her forms and whether she included all of her family’s foreign contacts.
“We’re simply writing the acting head of the FBI … to say, ‘Did Ivanka Trump fail to disclose many of her meetings?’ And under the law … she’s also responsible to disclose the foreign contacts of her spouse and her siblings. So, did she make an effort to disclose the things that Jared Kushner had done, or Donald Trump Jr.?” Beyer explained.
The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story. Knowingly falsifying or concealing information on the SF-86 can result in penalties including up to five years imprisonment.
“We’re really just asking [Acting FBI Director McCabe] to conduct a review of this serious issue involving the first daughter and assistant to the president, Ivanka. You know, maybe — I think this is unlikely — but maybe there was no problem,” Beyer said. “If … they come back and say, ‘No. Everything was fine.’ OK, fine. But we don’t have access to this information. The FBI does.”
Beyer said he realized there may be issues with Ivanka’s SF-86 because he remembered filling out the form when he served as the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009 to 2013.
“I had to talk to my wife, my brothers and sisters — I’m one of six — [and] my dad just to make sure that any foreign government contacts they had were reflected on my SF-86,” said Beyer.
The SF-86 forms, which can contain sensitive information, are not made public.
“If there was a violation of the public trust, if they broke U.S. law, at the very least the security clearance should be revoked,” Beyer said of Ivanka and Kushner.
Security clearance investigations for top White House officials are conducted by the FBI, which presents its findings to White House staff for a final decision. The president has the authority to reverse a White House staff decision on security clearance.
“One of the things we’ve tried to track down as well is who can revoke Jared and Ivanka’s security clearance,” said Beyer. “Near as we can tell, the only person that can do it is the president — their father or father-in-law.”
While the concerns over Ivanka’s security clearance forms have garnered relatively little attention, Kushner’s clearance has generated extensive discussion since the revelation of his meeting with Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. Kushner was granted an interim security clearance after he joined the White House with the final clearance pending review. Since last week, Kushner’s White House spokesman has not responded to multiple requests for comment from Yahoo News asking whether he still maintains his interim security clearance.
At the White House press briefing on July 10, Yahoo News asked deputy principal press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the fact that so many foreign contacts were missing from Kushner’s initial forms raised questions about his “competence or honesty.” Sanders responded by saying his initial SF-86 was “just an incomplete form.”
“All of his foreign contacts were listed in the updated version, not in the original,” Sanders said of Kushner.
Beyer said this defense of Kushner’s omitted contacts is “almost laughable.”
“You could see, oh, look, there are 100 contacts and maybe you forgot seven of them, or 12 of them, or three of them. But if you forgot all 100 it’s a pretty big problem,” said Beyer.
In April when Beyer first called for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked, just four other members of Congress signed onto his letter. He argued the fact that his latest letter has so many other co-signers is evidence of “gathering concern” following the revelations about Trump Jr. and Kushner’s meeting.
Beyer approached Republicans to sign his letter about Ivanka’s security clearance, but none of them took him up on the invitation.
“The Republicans here are, in general, very reluctant to cross the president,” said Beyer. “The president’s approval rating may only be 36 percent, but that 36 percent are the ones who vote in Republican primaries.”
Beyer claimed it’s a “completely different” story behind the scenes.
“Off the House floor, in a corner, they will almost to the person tell you that they are embarrassed, and aghast, and worried about their own political future,” Beyer said of Republican members of Congress. “You know, you don’t see them traipsing over to the White House every day for celebratory meetings. They’re really worried.”
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