Trump refuses to hand over ‘Kushner clearance’ documents to Congress: ‘It’s a disgrace’

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Clark Mindock
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Donald Trump has refused efforts by Democrats in Congress to obtain files related to his son-in-law’s White House security clearance, calling the probes into his campaign and administration a “witch hunt”, and a “shame” for the United States.

The comments came as House oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummingssaid on Tuesday that he and his colleagues would consider their "next steps” after the White House refused to hand over documents related to Jared Kushner’s security clearance.

Mr Cummings had requested the documents after reports indicated Mr Trump had himself ordered his former chief of staff to grant Mr Kushner a security clearance in spite of concerns from US intelligence agents. Mr Kushner is the president's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser. Since taking a position in the West Wing he has been tasked with an ambitious set of projects including negotiating peace in the Middle East, and working on criminal justice reform in the US.

“There is a key difference between a president who exercises his authority under the Constitution and a president who overrules career experts and his top advisors to benefit his family members and then conceals his actions from the American people.” Mr Cummings wrote after the White House baulked at his committee’s request.

He continued: “The White House security clearance system is broken, and it needs both congressional oversight and legislative reform. I will be consulting with members of the committee to determine our next steps.”

The White House response makes it likely that Democrats will subpoena the files, setting up a potential legal fight between the West Wing and Congress.

The House Judiciary Committee has also launched an investigation, with over 80 organisations or individuals connected to the president or his campaign receiving letters from that probe on Monday requesting documents.

He continued: “It’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace to our country. I’m not surprised that it’s happening.”

Mr Trump, when asked about the investigation into Mr Kushner’s security clearance, said that the investigations are an attempt to divert attention from legislating.

“The witch hunt continues,” he said.

“The fact is that … I guess we got 81 letters. There was no collusion. That was a hoax. There was no anything. And they want to do that instead of getting legislation passed.”