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Trump's son-in-law faces Kelly over new restrictions on insider information

25 February 2018

President Donald Trump said Friday that he will leave any decisions regarding his son-in-law Jared Kushner's security clearance to his chief of staff, John Kelly.

Kelly, who threatened to resign after the scandal as not to tarnished his image as a man of order and discipline, is working to renew the process of security clearance, and one of his first steps is to revoke the provisional access permits to some high officials. "It's a broken system, and it shouldn't take this long".

Porter had been operating on an interim security clearance for a year before he left over allegations that he abused his ex-wives. Further, this call may be what sparked Kelly to announce his policy change. "I will let the general, who's right here, make that call", he said and quickly added that his son-in-law is doing some very important things for the country.

At the news conference, the president heaped praise on Kushner, calling him a master deal-maker and saying he'd "done an outstanding job".

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Questions over security clearances for those with access to sensitive information burst into view recently with revelations that Trump's now-former staff secretary, Rob Porter, who controlled the flow of paper to and from the president's desk, had been working with only a temporary clearance.

The White House maintains that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change, but won't explain why.

The Feb. 9 phone call from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to White House Counsel Donald McGahn came amid growing public scrutiny of a number of administration officials without final security clearances. "He continues and will continue to be a valued member of the team".

Their wait-and-see mode ended abruptly last week, when Kelly issued a new policy that would block staff with interim clearances from receiving top-secret information as of Friday.

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Porter resigned on February 7, the same week multiple news outlets ran stories in which both of his ex-wives accused him of physical abuse, including one who offered a photo of a black eye she says he gave her.

But in an interview with the Post last summer discussing this topic, Alan Dershowitz, a prominent scholar of constitutional and criminal law who knew Kushner when he was a student at Harvard, said the FBI's clearance process was a traditional procedural hurdle - not a legal one.

Trump has the option of simply granting a security clearance to Kushner, but officials wanted to avoid that option.

But on Friday, CNN revealed that Kushner hasn't obtained a full security clearance partly because of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, and that Kushner likely won't receive full clearance while the probe is underway.

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Trump's son-in-law faces Kelly over new restrictions on insider information