(JTA) — Democrats are voicing concern that President Donald Trump ordered a security clearance for Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he was bothered “a great deal” by the reports that the president’s order took precedence over the concerns of intelligence officials as well as then-White House chief of Staff John Kelly.
“What I think is inappropriate is, these security clearances should be given after the review of the national security officials,“ Warner of Virginia said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The fact that he, in effect, chooses to give a family member, overriding the recommendations of the community, bothers me a great deal.“
Kelly documented his concerns about the process in an internal memo. It also troubled the then-White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II.
The order was first reported on Thursday by the New York Times, citing four unnamed people briefed on the matter.
Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump “pressured the president to grant Kushner the long-delayed clearance,” at which point the president “instructed” his White House chief of staff to resolve the matter, the Washington Post also reported on Thursday.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told media outlets: “We don’t comment on security clearances.”
Trump in an interview with the New York Times last month said that he had nothing to do with Kushner getting a security clearance. Ivanka Trump told ABC News in early February that her father “had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance, zero.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House oversight committee, launched an investigation in January into the White House’s practices in awarding clearances to top aides. On Friday, he ordered the White House to turn over documents related to White House security clearances, in the wake of the report on how Kushner received his high-level security clearance.