A report by the New York Times regarding how Jared Kushner got security clearance attempts to shed a little light on the process. And, according to the outlet, it reportedly went down a little differently than Ivanka Trump suggested a few weeks ago. The Times claims, via four sources, that Trump "ordered" his chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, to give Kushner a security clearance last year. In fact, the outlet reports Kelly wrote an internal memo about it.
Trump told The Times on Jan. 31 that he played no role in the process, and Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment on Thursday's report.
Earlier in the year, Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told The Times that Kushner went through a standard clearance process. Additionally, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesperson for Lowell, released a statement to The Times on Thursday:
In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner's security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.
A few weeks ago, Ivanka backed up her father's claims, saying that Trump had "zero involvement" in Kushner's security clearance process. On Feb. 8, to ABC's Abby Huntsman for The View, Ivanka said, "There were anonymous leaks about there being issues [with our clearance]. But the president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance, zero."
When asked what the reason was in the delay for her and her husband's clearances, she replied, “This isn’t new. This was happening under the Obama administration, the Clinton administration."
This latest report by The New York Times seems to directly dispute what Ivanka, Trump, and Kushner's spokespeople have said. Specifically, it asserts that Kushner's security clearance was initially flagged by multiple intelligence officials who were concerned about giving him clearance, but that Trump ordered the go-ahead anyway. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said to reporters on Thursday, via The New York Times, “We don’t comment on security clearances.”
Last month, The New York Times released a multitude of other details about Kushner's security clearance application, including that it was rejected at least once during the process, that the FBI had flagged his application because of concerns over his foreign contacts and that the CIA still continues to deny him access to certain information.
In January, the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced an investigation into "grave breaches with the security clearance process at the White House," according to a press release published by the committee. Within that investigation, the committee confirmed that it would be requesting information in the coming months about a number of individuals' security clearances, including the senior adviser to the president: Kushner. Ivanka is, notably, not on this list.