Democrats Launch Probe of Security Clearances for Kushner, Other Trump Aides

Billy House

(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats are launching an investigation into irregularities in security clearance screening for top White House aides including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Controversy erupted over the White House’s security vetting procedures last year after revelations former Staff Secretary Rob Porter was permitted to keep his security clearance for months even though the FBI said it had provided the White House a report including allegations of domestic violence from his two ex-wives.

Kushner and more than 30 other Trump aides lost access to top secret intelligence in February 2018 because they had been working with “interim” clearances and their background investigations had never been completed even though some had been at the White House more than a year.

Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Chairman Elijah Cummings on Wednesday asserted there had been “grave” breaches in security vetting in a letter informing White House Counsel Pat Cipollone his panel had launched a probe. Cummings said as a result "the nation’s most highly guarded secrets were provided to officials who should not have had access to them."

Cummings’s letter includes a request from the committee to conduct transcribed interviews of staffers in the White House Personnel Security Office, starting Feb. 11.

The letter also casts the breaches as extending to "the highest levels of the Trump Administration, including by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others."

The panel also is seeking security clearance material involving Kushner and Porter. It is also probing clearances for current National Security Adviser John Bolton; former National Security Council Senior Director Robin Townley; Trump’s former personal assistant, John McEntee; and former Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka.

Cummings also asked for documents relating to a review of the White House security clearance process former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly launched last year after the revelations about Porter’s clearance.

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