President Donald Trump last May ordered John Kelly to grant son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner a top security clearance despite concerns from senior administration officials, The New York Times reports.
Kushner’s clearance was rejected twice by White House security analysts due to concerns about potential foreign influence. Trump has publicly denied intervening in the process, but Kelly, at the time his chief of staff, in an internal memo wrote how he had been “ordered” to do so by the president.
Don McGahn, the White House legal counsel then, also recommended Kushner not be given clearance at that level.
The Times report contradicts claims by Trump, Kushner’s lawyer Abbe D. Lowell, Ivanka Trump and others that Kushner received the clearance as a result of the normal process.
A spokesperson for Kushner’s lawyer told the Times the process was handled correctly.
“In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone,” Peter Mirijanian said. “That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”