Kushner loses clearance

Kushner loses clearance
Reports have emerged that US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also worked in the White House as a senior advisor, has lost his top security clearance..

Reports have emerged that US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also worked in the White House as a senior advisor, has lost his top security clearance.

He will no longer be allowed to attend key meetings including the daily briefings with the President. Prior to losing his access, Kushner had one of the most expansive portfolios in the White House. Additionally, reports note that he is in massive debt.

Background

Jared Kushner, who is the Senior Advisor in the White House and he is also Trump’s son-in-law. He is the elder son of real-estate developer Charles Kushner, and is married to Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter and advisor. He was chief executive officer of the real-estate holding and development company Kushner Companies, and of Observer Media, publisher of the New York Observer. He is the co-founder and part owner of Cadre, an online real-estate investment platform.

He was reportedly one of the main driving forces behind Trump’s decision to fire then FBI director James Comey. He was also present at a meeting with Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya. The person who set up that meeting stated that he had information about Hillary Clinton from Russian players.

In November 2017, Senate judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein sent a letter noting that Kushner failed to disclose emails he received about WikiLeaks and "a Russian backdoor overture" in 2016. “Other parties have produced September 2016 email communications to Mr Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, which Mr Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official,” said senators Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein.

Thus, there have been growing calls from lawmakers asking for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked. Kushner’s lawyer, meanwhile has maintained that his client had been “responsive to all requests” made to him by investigators.

Analysis

Kushner’s real estate business is reportedly struggling, and he is currently in deep debt. According to the latest revisions in the financial disclosure forms signed by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the couple’s debts are at a range of approximately $31 million to $155 million. Since joining the White House in 2017, he has drawn more money out of three separate lines of credit.

According to a report from the Washington Post, Kushner’s extensive contacts with foreign officials has been the reason he has not been able to obtain clearance. In fact, according to the same report, officials from four countries – the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico – have discussed how Kushner’s debts and his business could be manipulated for their own personal gain.  

Up until now, as a senior aide, Kushner had been attending all the daily briefings at the White House. With the latest move, he will no longer be allowed access to those meetings. The downgrading of Kushner’s security clearance comes just weeks after a White House employee, Rob Porter was dismissed amid allegations of domestic violence. Details emerged that Porter, despite having been accused of two former wives of having beaten them, had been given access to extremely sensitive information within the White House. The administration and especially the Chief of Staff, John Kelly, have struggled to come out of the scandal.

Even though, the decision to provide or revoke security clearance is generally taken by the President, Trump had noted that he was differing the duty to John Kelly. He took to Twitter to state. Kelly in response released a statement regarding Kushner on the same day noting, “I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico.”

Kushner has one of the largest portfolios in the White House. Originally, he even had walk-in privileges within the White House. He has also been put in charge of an office named as American Innovation and he was also put in-charge of the ongoing peace talks in the Middle East.

Kushner’s attorney released a statement before news emerged of his client’s diminished access. The statement read, “"Mr. Kushner has done more than what is expected of him in this process. The new policy announced by General Kelly will not affect Mr. Kushner's ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president."

Assessment

Our assessment is that Kushner’s loss of security clearance, will severely hinder the duties he has been assigned to do. He will not be able to credibly broker a solution for peace in the Middle East, if he is not privy to top intel reports. We believe that Kushner’s extensive debts and his business woes can be manipulated by a foreign government. This does not bode well for the President and his son-in-law in wake of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference. It is likely that with diminished access, Kushner may step away from the White House entirely and return to his business ventures in New York. 

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