The House Oversight Committee is launching an investigation into the White House security clearance process, an inquiry that promises to put a spotlight on how President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, overcame concerns to gain access to highly classified information.
“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is launching an in-depth investigation of the security clearance process at the White House and Transition Team in response to grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump administration,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said in a letter to the White House obtained by NBC News.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jan. 23, 201902:27
Last February, NBC News reported that more than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including the president’s daughter Ivanka; Kushner, her husband; and the president’s top legal counsel. Kushner has since obtained a clearance, according to his lawyer, despite reports that he has been targeted for manipulation by foreign governments.
Cummings said he is seeking documents relevant to the NBC news report.
Kushner’s clearance was downgraded last February after it emerged that he initially failed to submit required information on his financial disclosure form. He regained full clearance a few months later, his lawyer said, but White House and CIA officials declined to discuss the circumstances.
According to The Washington Post, Kushner was granted only “top secret” status, a designation that bars him from reviewing some of the government’s most closely guarded intelligence.
In the letter, Cummings said the investigation will seek to determine “why the White House and Transition Team appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information” and “the extent to which the nation’s most highly guarded secrets were provided to officials who should not have had access to them.”