REP LIEU STATEMENT ON REPORT THAT TRUMP ORDERED OFFICIALS TO GIVE JARED KUSHNER A SECURITY CLEARANCE

February 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after the New York Times reported that President Donald J. Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance. The story alleges that the President overruled concerns from intelligence officials and the White House’s General Counsel.

 “Now we know why Jared Kushner still has a security clearance: Trump allegedly ordered it despite the red flags raised by the CIA and FBI and White House lawyers. Career security clearance professionals believed Jared Kushner was enough of a national security risk that he should not get a top secret clearance.

And now I have a message for our national security, defense and intelligence community: Do not share top secret information with Jared Kushner. Trust the career professionals. Do the right thing. Your loyalty is to America, not to Kushner or Trump."

Rep. Lieu on Security Clearances:

On January 29, 2019, Reps. Lieu, Cicilline, Sanchez, Eshoo and Gallego announced the introduction of the Restoring the Public Trust Act of 2019. The bill package incorporates a number of pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening ethical standards in the federal government to prevent government corruption and ensure accountability for the American public. Part of the legislation includes provisions that the White House must report to Congress when it grants a security clearance in contravention of an unfavorable clearance recommendation, in part to prevent dangerous and heavily indebted individuals from entering the most sensitive positions in government.

On Feb. 14, 2018, Rep. Lieu, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Nadler and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Cummings introduced the “Commonsense Legislation Ensuring Accountability by Reporting Access of Non-Cleared Employees to Secrets (CLEARANCES)" Act that would require the White House to regularly report the status of security clearance holders working in the Executive Office of the President. Under existing law, the President can choose to keep employees on staff with interim security clearances indefinitely without notifying Congress. The CLEARANCES Act would serve to create more accountability and oversight of who has access to classified information.

On Feb. 13, 2018, Reps. Lieu, Gallego, and Beyer wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting detailed information regarding the White House’s security clearance approval process.  The letter follows reports that potentially dozens of senior Trump Administration officials who lack a permanent clearance may currently be accessing highly classified materials that they are not authorized to handle or possess.

On Feb. 8, 2018, Rep. Lieu led a letter with Reps. Jayapal, Raskin and Lawrence asking White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to explain when he had knowledge of the allegations of domestic abuse by White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter and the actions he took given that knowledge. According to reports, Mr. Porter’s alleged abusive behavior was the reason he was unable to secure a permanent security clearance, yet apparently Mr. Kelly defended him, promoted him, and urged him to stay. 

On Oct. 5, 2017, Reps. Lieu and Beyer sent a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn calling on him to immediately revoke the security clearances of White House officials Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The appeal comes after multiple reports demonstrating Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner’s brazen disregard for ethics and their apparent intention to skirt good governance rules. Reports showed their flagrant hypocrisy having used private emails to hide their correspondence from investigators. They also repeatedly missed deadlines for reporting financial assets to the Office of Government Ethics. Beyond that, Ms. Trump was reportedly close to being indicted for real estate fraud in 2012 but avoided prosecution thanks to a dubious meeting between Donald Trump’s lawyer and the New York District Attorney. This behavior makes them unfit to hold security clearances.

On July 24, 2017, Rep. Lieu introduced two amendments to the Make America Safe Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The first amendment prohibited anyone, who has resubmitted their SF-86 security clearance form more than twice to add previously undisclosed Russian contacts, from receiving salary, expenses - including for support staff and office space, or classified information.

On June 1, 2017, Rep. Lieu co-led a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn calling for immediate revocation of Jared Kushner’s security clearance until the FBI concludes its investigation into Trump-Russia ties. In April 2017, Congressman Lieu was just one of four Democrats who signed onto a letter to OPM Director Charles Phalen and then FBI Director James Comey raising concerns regarding Jared Kushner’s failure to disclose his meetings with foreign officials.

 

On April 13, 2017, Reps. Lieu, Beyer and group of House Democrats wrote to the FBI and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requesting that they suspend White House Senior Advisor and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance, citing his admission that he “omitted” required details about meetings with foreign officials from an FBI questionnaire.

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