A handful of House Democrats are calling on federal authorities to suspend Jared Kushner’s security clearance amid a wide-ranging probe into Trump associates’ contacts with Russian officials.
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor failed to disclose numerous foreign contacts when he applied for top-secret clearance, including at least two meetings with high-profile Russians during Trump’s transition to the White House, according to a New York Times report cited by the lawmakers. It is, they noted, a felony to intentionally conceal such meetings on a national security form.
"Mr. Kushner’s lack of candor about meetings with Russian officials appears to be part of a larger pattern of dissembling and deception on Russian contacts from the Trump team, and we believe the public deserves the truth about what connection, if any, exists between these incidents," five House Democrats said in a statement accompanying the missive.
The letter, led by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), is an attempt to keep public attention on Trump’s ties to Russia, despite a week in which tension between the president and Russian leaders flared over a U.S. military strike in Syria. Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) also signed the letter.
Lawmakers said in their statement that the article "did not receive the scrutiny it deserved." The story broke just hours after the military launched 59 missiles at a Syrian air base, which dominated the news in Washington over the weekend.
The Times reported that Kushner left out dozens of foreign contacts from his national security form, but two stood out: a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a meeting with Sergey Gorkov, an FSB-trained leader of a bank subject to U.S. sanctions.
In the report, Kushner’s lawyer indicated that the omissions were inadvertent and that Kushner would provide additional details to the FBI.
The Democratic lawmakers said they want Kushner’s clearance suspended pending a review of his "compliance with the laws and regulation governing security clearances." The federal form for national security positions emphasizes that making false statements or concealing information could be punishable by up to five years in prison. And those found to have made false statements may be denied security clearance.
Kushner aides told the Times that he has been operating under an "interim" clearance while he works to gather more information for the FBI.
The Senate Intelligence Committee also intends to interview Kushner as part of its own probe into connections between Trump and Moscow.