White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is facing mounting backlash from Senate Democrats for participating in a controversial meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, with lawmakers calling for his security clearance to be revoked and questioning his place in the Trump administration.
Kushner, along with President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was present at the June 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. In an email exchange with a publicist, Trump Jr. was promised the meeting would include damaging information about Hillary Clinton that was part of a Russian campaign to support Trump.
Sen. Ron Wyden, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, called Kushner’s actions "very troubling," during an interview on CNN.
"What it tells me is that he should not be involved now in handling sensitive security matters and materials," he said.
Wyden added that while he has said on the Senate floor that they would not be making judgments on officials’ security clearances, that Kushner’s actions proved he should not be given access to such intelligence.
"I certainly feel given, what you describe is now being reported extensively, he should not be involved in handling sensitive security materials and matters," Wyden said.
Wyden’s comments echoed those of Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, who Tuesday outright called for Kushner’s security standing to be revoked Wednesday.
"Kushner should be barred from receiving any more classified material until a full investigation is completed. #Classified101," Heinrich tweeted Tuesday.
Numerous House Democrats have similarly made calls for Kushner’s clearance to be revoked, but this week’s developments have resulted in Senate Democrats speaking in favor of the measure for the first time.
Others went a step further.
Sen. Chris Murphy on Wednesday reportedly called for Kushner to resign, saying Trump’s son-in-law had either misled the president — who has repeatedly denied contact with Russia — or a larger plot was afoot withing the Trump White House.
“You don’t think the Republicans would be calling for the resignation of an Obama official who allowed the president and vice president to openly lie about a major national security issue?” the Connecticut Democrat told reporters. “He watched his father-in-law on TV say no one in [the Trump] campaign talked to the Russian government.”