Jared Kushner's security clearance status is John Kelly's decision, Trump says


The federal inquiry into Kushner's background has been ongoing since a year ago.

As of November, White House counsel Don McGahn - who has also been interviewed by Mueller's team - had received a Top Secret clearance, but was still working off interim access to SCI.

It is unclear what security status Kushner requires to work at a high level on the Middle East peace process.

Kelly, in a memo released last week, had set a Friday deadline for halting access to top-secret information for those whose applications have been pending since June 1 or earlier.

He added a little reported fact that Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, receives "zero dollars" for his role in the administration.

The debate over security clearance has also heightened existing tensions between Kushner and Kelly.

'It shouldn't take this long, ' he said, referring to the roughly three dozen people who share security clearance purgatory with Kushner. Rosenstein conveyed to McGahn that the clearance process was still ongoing, the source said.

Ordinarily, security-clearance experts said, the failure to completely disclose all contacts would jeopardize an applicant's chances of obtaining final clearance.

The information was discovered in the course of Kushner's background check, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

White House security clearances were thrust front-and-center this month following the departure of Trump's former staff secretary Rob Porter.

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More than 100 White House officials were still working on interim clearances in November, according to the information provided to CNN. But the President's advisers have determined that taking that step would be drastic and cause deep rifts within the intelligence community and among Trump's top aides.

"That'll be up to General Kelly", he told reporters.

Trump said that in his meetings with the Australian delegation on Friday, "lots of deals were made for the purchase of additional military equipment and other things".

"That will be up to Gen. Kelly".

"As I told Jared days ago, 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", Kelly said in a statement.

But Trump said he'll allow Kelly to make the decision. "I will let the general make that call".

Trump blamed an outdated procedure for the mounds of red tape that has taken months to clear many would-be staffers, saying, "It's a broken system and it shouldn't take this long".

Sanders did not rule out Trump using his executive authority to grant Kushner a permanent security clearance, which would circumvent the traditional process run by the White House office of personnel security. Issuing exemptions to Kushner "would create a political problem-the White House would have to explain why the president granted an exception to his family".

At his news conference Friday, Trump defended his son-in-law, who he noted does not draw a salary. And more than a year into Trump's presidency, Kushner continues to work under an interim security clearance, which gives him access to highly sensitive intelligence information.