Jared Kushner's security clearance has been restored

Javier Stokes
May 24, 2018

Jared Kushner, who is leading a White House effort to jump-start peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, has been granted security clearance after operating for months without it, USA media outlets reported on Wednesday.

Kushner sat down with investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller for at least the second time last month, said a source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the criminal investigation.

It lasted more than six hours.

Kushner's permission to view top secret information was revoked in February after White House Chief of Staff John Kelly declared a moratorium on temporary security clearances.

Staff secretary Rob Porter later resigned. That meant Kushner was able to see information only at the lower "secret" level, but not highly classified information. "Having completed these processes, Mr. Kushner is looking forward to continuing the work the president has asked him to do", said Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell.

The White House defended the drawn-out process, claiming it wasn't unusual with Kushner's complicated financial history and contacts with numerous foreign officials.

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"In each occasion, he answered all questions asked and did whatever he could to expedite the conclusion of the investigations", Lowell told the Times.

Lowell said Kushner has been voluntarily cooperating with Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It was limited to questions about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who later was charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The special counsel's questioning focused on Kushner's work with Trump and did not include topics such as Kushner's personal finances or those of his family business, Kushner Companies, according to the person.

Career officials approved the clearance following the background check, the newspaper reported.

The wealthy NY real estate developer had to refile the national security questionnaire required of all prospective White House employees after making a number of omissions.

Whether the restoration of Kushner's clearance is somehow related to his cooperation with Mueller is not immediately clear. He updated the form in the spring, listing about 100 contacts, but did not mention the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting he attended with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr., and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

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