House Dems Demand Kushner's Security Clearance Be Revoked Amid Russia Probe

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner / Getty
April 13, 2017

Several House Democrats are calling for White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner's security clearance to be suspended as Congress and the Justice Department continue to investigate alleged connections between associates of President Trump and Russian officials.

In the public letter, organized by Rep. Don Beyer (D., Va.), five Democrats call on the FBI and National Background Investigations Bureau to rescind Kushner's clearance pending a review of his compliance with rules governing security clearances, Politico reported Thursday.

"Mr. Kushner's lack of candor about meetings with Russian officials appears to be part of a larger pattern of dissembling and deception on Russian contacts from the Trump team, and we believe the public deserves the truth about what connection, if any, exists between these incidents," the lawmakers wrote.

The letter comes amid an ongoing federal probe into the Trump campaign and transition's possible contacts with Russian officials. The Democratic lawmakers referenced a New York Times report from last week that revealed Kushner omitted a number of meetings with foreign contacts, including at least two meetings with high-profile Russians during the transition period at the end of last year.

It is a felony to intentionally fail to disclose such meetings on a national security form, the Times noted.

According to Kushner aides interviewed by the Times, the White House senior adviser has been operating under an "interim" clearance while working to gather more information for the FBI.

The letter from Beyer and his colleagues says their concerns arose from the Times article. They expressed particular concern about alleged meetings between Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as well as a meeting with Sergey Gorkov, who the letter refers to as "a prominent Russian banker and a graduate of the Academy of [the] Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB)."

The group drew a comparison between possible misconduct by Kushner and the controversy surrounding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, both of whom had undisclosed conversations with Kislyak last year.

The representatives "are concerned that Jared Kushner may have engaged in similar deception," the letter states.

Sessions spoke with Kislyak twice last year as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Flynn had a conversation with the ambassador during the transition period.

The letter also requests that "Mr. Kushner immediately make public all meetings he had with foreign government officials between June 16, 2015, the date Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States, and January 20, 2017, the day the president was sworn in."

Kushner is already set to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee for its own Russia probe.

In addition to Beyer, the letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), and Peter Welch (Vt.).