Trump On Kushner's Clearance: Jared's 'Outstanding,' But It's Up To John Kelly

President Donald Trump speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference, at National Harbor Md. Friday Feb. 23 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been working for the White House without permanent security clearances for most of the past year.

The Feb. 9 phone call from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to White House Counsel Don McGahn came as public scrutiny mounted over the number of administration officials without final security clearances.

Kelly last week announced that he will revoke top clearances for any aide with an interim security clearance whose background check has been pending since last June or earlier.

President Trump on Friday defended his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a "high-quality person" while saying chief of staff John Kelly will ultimately decide whether Kushner keeps his interim security clearance. "There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise", he said.

CNN reported one week later that more than 100 White House staffers were operating on temporary security clearances as late as November.

"Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President's agenda", Kelly said.

Kushner has been unable to obtain a full security clearance in part because of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN earlier this week.

"I have definitely had cases over the years where there was a parallel criminal investigation ... that was happening at the same time as there was a clearance investigation", Zaid said.

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Kelly also wrote that he would be curtailing "access to certain highly classified information for those individuals working with interim clearance status" unless he will grant 'only in the most compelling circumstances'. It's a system where taken months to get security clearance even for people who that do not have the complex financial system.

Trump has the option of simply granting a security clearance to Kushner, but officials wanted to avoid that option. Much, but not all, of Kushner's work on the two issues singled out by Kelly are handled at those lower levels, the official said.

The new information on Kushner that Rosenstein warned the White House about, though not publicly known, could put Kushner under further scrutiny by Robert Mueller's investigative team amid the Russian Federation investigation. Kushner failed to report some of those contacts to USA officials.

Kelly said in a statement on Thursday that he would not comment on anyone's specific security clearance situation.

In addition, Kushner's actions during the transition have been noted in the guilty plea of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who admitted he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The information was discovered in the course of Kushner's background check, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

"It's a broken system", he said.

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