Despite the president’s assurances to the contrary, Donald Trump ordered his former chief of staff John Kelly to grant his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top-level security clearance, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Kelly, who was ousted from his White House role in December, detailed the order in a contemporaneous memo written in May of last year, as did the White House counsel at the time, Don McGahn.
In January, Trump summoned the New York Times to the Oval Office, where he sat for an interview with reporters and the paper’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. During that interview, Trump was asked directly if he had overridden the advice of security officials and ordered that Kushner be given the top-level clearance.
“Did you tell Gen. Kelly or anyone else in the White House to overrule security officials? The career veterans?” the Times asked the president.
“No, I don’t think I have the authority to do that,” Trump responded. “I’m not sure I do. But I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t do it. Jared’s a good — I was, I was never involved with his security. I know that he, you know, just from reading, I know that there was issues back and forth about security for numerous people, actually. But I don’t want to get involved in that stuff.”
Kushner and his wife, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, both stated in separate interviews that the president had played no role in the awarding of security clearances for the couple.
... the @nytimes is reporting trump ordered officials to give kushner his security clearance. but here's video from 20 days ago of ivanka trump repeatedly denying the president had anything to do with it. pic.twitter.com/e59YnKMxDp
— fake nick ramsey (@nick_ramsey) February 28, 2019
One day after the White House counsel’s office recommended that Kushner be denied a top-level security clearance, the Times reported, Trump personally ordered Kelly to grant it.
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