Jared Kushner and White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly are at odds over his top-secret security clearance.


Kelly is attempting to remove Kushner’s access to high-level information, but Kushner, Donald Trump‘s son-in-law and White House official, is reportedly reluctant to give it up. Earlier this month, it came out that Kelly had allowed alleged domestic abuser Rob Porter to retain his official position as White House staff secretary. Following this, reports surfaced that many White House officials were operating without permanent security clearance, but using “interim” clearances for long periods of time, apparently as a way to gain access to materials that the FBI had deemed classified.


Kelly is now attempting to revoke top security clearances from many officials, including anyone who applied for a background check prior to June 2, 2017. Kushner is on that list, and is unhappy at the circumstances. The New York Times reported that he has shared with colleagues his reluctance to give up his access. Kelly and Kushner have butted heads in the past, but not directly. All Kelly has said this time around is that the president’s son-in-law will still have all the access necessary to do his job.

“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,” the Chief of Staff said in a statement released by the White House released. “Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise.”

On three separate occasions, Kushner has been forced to revise a disclosure form about foreign contacts because he had forgotten various conversations he’d had with foreign entities. In addition, his family faces massive debts. In the last year, he has sought a $400 million investment from the CEO of Chinese firm Anbang Insurance, plus another $500 million from the former Qatari prime minister. Around the same time, he met with Sergey Gorkov, head of Russian state-run bank Vnesheconombank and had a conversation that Kushner claims was political and Gorkov claims was business.

Now, sources tell the Times that Kushner feels personally targeted by Kelly, and that Trump is toying with the idea of firing his Chief of Staff. In the memo distributed by Kelly last week, he said, “We should – and in the future, must – do better,” concerting the clearance issue. “Reviews will occur monthly for long-outstanding adjudications,” the memo continued. The newly introduced rules would “limit access to certain highly classified information for those individuals working with interim clearance status absent explicit chief of staff’s office approval, which would be granted only in the most compelling circumstances.”