President Donald Trump ordered a top-secret security clearance be granted to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, last May despite objections raised by intelligence and White House officials, four people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.
The Thursday report contradicts previous statements Trump made claiming he had no role in giving Kushner his clearance. Ivanka Trump, Kushner’s wife and a senior adviser to her father, reiterated that claim earlier this month.
Kushner lost his initial security clearance, which gave him access to some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets, last February after reports that he and others were operating with the clearance even though their background checks were not finished. It was restored to Kushner last May when the president overruled a decision by then-White House Counsel Don McGahn, the Times reported.
John Kelly, who was White House chief of staff at the time, was so infuriated by Trump’s demand that he wrote an internal memo stating he had been “ordered” to give Kushner the clearance, according to the Times’ sources.
It’s unclear what factors led to recommendations that Kushner not receive the top-secret clearance, but many have noted his own family’s foreign real estate dealings and unreported contacts he has made with foreign agents.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Times she would not “comment on security clearances,” and a spokesman for Kushner said his application “underwent the normal process.”
This isn’t the first news of formal objections to Kushner’s clearance. Sources told NBC News last month that two top White House security officials wrote recommendations against clearing Kushner but that their supervisor overruled them.