Trump is leaving Jared Kushner's security clearance up to John Kelly, and it could be a bad sign for Kushner

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump was asked whether his son-in-law Jared Kushner will be allowed to continue working at the White House under an interim security clearance.
  • Trump said the decision on Kushner’s clearance is up to chief of staff John Kelly.
  • Kelly overhauled the security clearance rules for the White House after the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal.
  • Kushner is reportedly worried that Kelly is directly targeting him with the new rules.

President Donald Trump dodged questions on the status of his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance during a press conference Friday, saying it is “up to General Kelly” if Kushner will keep his access.

The widespread use of the interim clearances in the Trump White House came under scrutiny after revelations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter was operating under a temporary pass amid an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse from two of his ex-wives.

The fallout led chief of staff John Kelly to issue new guidance on the use of the interim clearances, including restricting access to confidential information.

Among those White House members working under an interim clearance is Kushner, who has reportedly pushed back against the new rules.

“That will be up to General Kelly,” Trump told reporters during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “General Kelly will make that call. I will let the general make that call.”

Kelly and Kushner have clashed amid reports that Kushner and Ivanka Trump have suggested possible replacements for Kelly after the chief of staff mishandled the fallout from the Porter scandal. Kushner felt the new restrictions were personally targeted at him, according to The New York Times.

The White House has so far refused to clarify why Kushner is operating under an interim clearance.

During his response to the security clearance question, Trump also praised Kushner’s work on attempting to broker a deal between Israel and Palestine and called his performance “truly outstanding.” The president also took time to say Ivanka was representing the US well during a trip to South Korea for the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

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