The fallout from a Thursday revelation in The New York Times that President Donald Trump personally intervened to give his son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance has some calling for Kushner to be fired.
"Jared Kushner was identified as a national security risk and deemed unworthy of receiving top-secret security clearance yet President Trump insisted that his son-in-law be given the clearance," said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. "If the President will go so far as to ignore accepted norms and put the security of our nation at risk then Congress must pass legislation to check presidential discretion on security clearances."
The #FireKushner hashtag was trending on Twitter Friday morning as a number of commentators called for Kushner—a White House senior advisor—to either resign voluntarily or be removed from his position.
Trump overruled even the CIA to grant Jared Kushner security clearance! NYT notes: "An internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner -including by the C.I.A.-and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance" #FireKushner— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) March 1, 2019
Trump’s not going to #FireKushner. Have we learned nothing about who this corrupted shell of a human is that praises murderers? We think he’s actually bothered by ethical or even legal standards?— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) March 1, 2019
Reporters chimed in on social media, explaining how Kushner's history of problematic issues with clearance might contribute to the storm of scandals around the president and the White House.
WH chief of staff, John Kelly, wrote an internal memo about how he had been “ORDERED” by Trump to give Kushner the top-secret clearance, thus overruling WH counsel concerns.— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) February 28, 2019
POTUS & Ivanka caught LYING over Kushner security clearance approval.
Conflict of Interest crisis point! https://t.co/pDp2zMbIcH
To remind: Here's why Jared Kushner was never supposed to get a clearance— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) March 1, 2019
"Officials in at least 4 countries privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner..using his financial difficulties and lack of experience."
Me W @shaneharris @jdawsey1 https://t.co/cejnYVT4qm
And lest we forget: "The president probably could not receive a security clearance if he was not the president."— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) February 28, 2019
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Despite the growing chorus of anger over Kushner's position of power within the White House, it's unlikely that the president will remove his son-in-law from the administration. Kushner has proven resilient in the face of two years of sustained criticism over his role in the West Wing and the president's reported intervention on his behalf does not indicate a willingness from Trump to discard his son-in-law.
Still, Kushner's level of clearance has been a source of contention in the White House since Trump took office—and, as the Times reports, the concern over Kushner's access to secret materials is longstanding on the part of intelligence services.
The full scope of intelligence officials' concerns about Mr. Kushner is not known. But the clearance had been held up in part over questions from the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. about his foreign and business contacts, including those related to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the events.
The Times also reported that Trump's decision was opposed by both White House Counsel Don McGann and then-Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Congressional Democrats expressed outrage over the president's unilateral decision to grant Kushner security clearance and said they'd hold hearings to find out more about the president's decision making process.
**Intel Chairman @RepAdamSchiff & I just issued following statement re: #Kushner security clearance. “Security clearances should be issued based on trust, not by blood or bond.” pic.twitter.com/rlRAvpiiMj— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 1, 2019
Apparently John Kelly & Don McGhan were so disturbed by @realDonaldTrump ordering that Mr. Kushner be granted a security clearance that both wrote CYA memos.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 1, 2019
Here is my statement, with a message to the national security community. https://t.co/uemXhT2Rue https://t.co/6vESoe0wOC
It's unclear what, if anything, can be done about Kushner's clearance—but one thing's for sure: there's no sign of the scandals surrounding the administration going away any time soon.
Every time I talk myself into believing this is mainly a Paul Manafort story, Jared Kushner wanders back into the frame.— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) March 1, 2019
This article was updated with comment from Common Cause.