With Jared Kushner coming under fire for having to add more than 100 contacts to his security clearance form, Democrats are taking aim at another top White House adviser — Ivanka Trump.
Democrats are inquiring about whether Trump, the White House assistant who is President Donald Trump’s daughter and Kushner’s husband, similarly failed to disclose contacts that Kushner had on her own clearance form.
The group of 20 House Democrats pointed to contacts Kushner failed to report initially, such as his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the latter of which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., in June 2016.
In a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, the Democrats, led by Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, requested information on any potential discrepancies between Ivanka Trump’s and Kushner’s security clearance forms, which the Democrats noted additionally requires the disclosure of foreign contacts, business interests, and meetings by spouses and siblings spanning the previous seven years.
Democrats asked whether Trump’s eldest daughter disclosed any of her own meetings and contacts, Kushner’s, and Trump Jr.’s.
“As a member of the White House staff and close adviser to the president, [Ivanka] Trump applied for a security clearance, and, as a result, was required to disclose her own foreign contacts as well as those of her spouse and siblings,” the group of House Democrats wrote in the letter to McCabe.
“We are concerned that Ivanka Trump may have engaged in similar deception,” they continued. “For example, did she disclose her husband’s meeting with Kislyak and Gorkov? Did she disclose her brother’s and husband’s meeting with Veselnitskaya? Did she accurately disclose her own foreign contacts in her initial filing, which reports suggest may be numerous? If in fact she did accurately disclose these meetings, who at the White House knew of Mr. Kushner’s and Mr. Trump Jr’s multiple contacts with Russian officials before they were made public? And, most importantly, did she discuss any of these meetings with the president, and, if so, when?”
Beyer has been a vocal opponent of Kushner holding a security clearance in recent months. After news of Trump Jr.’s meeting broke, Beyer went as far as calling for Kushner’s resignation from office.
“The fact that Jared Kushner initially omitted this meeting from his [security clearance form], and only disclosed it after coming under considerable scrutiny, implies that he knew something untoward had happened,” Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, said in a statement, adding that “Kushner should not be permitted access to classified material, he should not be empowered to conduct official business on behalf of the American people, and he should not be allowed to continue in any capacity as a counselor to the president.”
“He has irrevocably betrayed the public trust,” he continued. “Jared Kushner must resign. If he will not, he should be fired.”
Democrats made an effort to have Kushner’s clearance stripped last week, when Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, introduced a pair of amendments to 2018 appropriations bills aimed at revoking Kushner’s clearance. The amendments were both voted down by 22 to 30 margins.
Republicans too have expressed concern regarding the clearances after news of Kushner’s attendance at the meeting with Veselnitskaya. Emails released by Trump Jr. showed the meeting was set up on the premise of the Russian lawyer providing the Trump campaign with supposedly damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr.’s “preemptive release of the emails that led to the meeting with the Russian operative puts Jared Kushner in legal peril,” Rick Tyler, the communications director for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign who is now an MSNBC contributor, told Business Insider in an email last week. “He has consistently failed to make mandatory discloses of meetings with foreign nationals including this one which is a felony.”
“Jared should, at a minimum, have his clearances rescinded making his utility as an advisor, which itself is suspect, impractical,” he continued.