Donald Trump Pressured White House Staff To Grant Ivanka Trump Security Clearance
President Donald Trump personally granted Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner their security clearances, overruling his then-chief of staff John Kelly and counsel Don McGahn. CNN’s sources note that it is possible Ivanka is unaware of the security concerns her and Kushner’s background checks raised, and it’s possible she’s ignorant to her father’s involvement.
Ordinarily the president defers to the White House’s security personnel when appointing security clearances, although the president does have the authority to do so himself. Trump initially asked Kelly and McGahn to grant his daughter and son-in-law security clearances as to not appear biased towards his family, but neither were comfortable complying. Trump then granted Ivanka and Kushner their clearances.
When pressed for a comment, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We don’t comment on security clearances. We cannot respond to every anonymous source.”
Speaking with ABC News three weeks ago, Ivanka denied the notion that her familial ties to the president were a factor in her and her husband gaining their clearances. “The president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance, zero,” she claimed. Trump, likewise, had previously told The New York Times that he had no involvement in the process.
It was reported last week that Trump pressured Kelly into granting Kushner clearance, ignoring the security concerns raised by intelligence officials. On Tuesday, House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) issued a statement responding to the White House’s refusal to release the documents that concern Kushner’s clearance.