Democratic Reps. Donald S. Beyer of Virginia and Ted Lieu of California sent a letter Thursday to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney asking him to immediately strip senior advisor Jared Kushner of his security clearance.
A recent NBC News report revealed that White House security specialists recommended Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, not be approved for a top secret clearance, but they were overruled by their supervisor. The career specialists had expressed concerns about Kushner’s foreign ties and susceptibility to foreign influence.
“We urge you to immediately revoke the security clearance of Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, and to comply with past and future oversight requests from Congress related to security clearances, information security, and other matters of national security,” Beyer and Lieu wrote to Mulvaney
The Democrats cite the NBC News report as confirmation of concerns they’d been raising about Kushner since Trump took office.
“We raised these concerns in five separate letters to the Trump administration,” they said, citing dates of the letters spanning from April 13, 2017, to June 5, 2018.
“The White House has yet to address any of these issues, and new reporting suggests that there has been an intentional, concerted effort within the Executive Office of the President to cover for Jared Kushner in the face of similar objections raised by the career professionals who evaluate appointees’ suitability for security clearances.”
Beyer and Lieu argue that the White House has shown a pattern of hiding the truth and that their “dangerous behavior” in regards to Kushner’s security clearance suggests the administration does not take information security seriously.
Their letter also raises questions about NBC’s reporting that Kushner’s case was only one of at least 30 in which career security specialists recommended against giving top security clearances but had been overruled by their supervisor.
The letter expressed frustration that the administration has not responded to congressional requests for information about security clearances. The White House has also not complied with legislation Congress passed, which required the White House to send lawmakers a report by last August explaining its process for determining security clearances.
“The president of the United States has a responsibility to the people who put him in that office that should outweigh his personal business and familial interests,” Beyer and Lieu said. “The ongoing refusal of the administration to abide by longstanding security clearance processes, coupled with its unwillingness to explain its actions to members of Congress, increasingly seems like a coverup.”