Three sources came forward to contradict Ivanka Trump’s on-air statement that her father President Donald Trump had “no involvement” in her or husband Jared Kushner’s security clearances, reports CNN.
“The President had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance. Zero,” Ivanka Trump told ABC News last month.
Did Ivanka know?
It is possible Ivanka did not know. Ivanka Trump was adamant in her on-air interview that her father was not involved. CNN reports, “According to a source familiar with her process, she ‘did not seek, nor have, outside counsel involved in her process as no issues were ever raised.’ A separate person added that she was notified by career officials that her clearance had been granted.”
In the ABC interview, Ivanka Trump referenced the “a backlog of close to a million clearances” as the only problem in granting her own. Trump and Kushner both joined White House in early 2017 and were given interim security clearances. It is her Top Secret clearance, granted in May 2018, about which Trump responded to questions in the interview.
The court of public opinion has ruled in several entertainment arenas, including “a scathing opening monologue, Oliver addressed the would-be political power couple that is Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner,” reports Vanity Fair.
Meghan McCain criticized Trump, saying she “Did not know if there was a person in there” when watching Trump’s interview with ABC.
Lawmakers want Answers
In a July 19, 2017 letter to the FBI, 22 House Democrats asked for disclosure of Ivanka’s foreign contacts, and whether she omitted anything from her security clearance application.
Ivanka’s Top Secret Clearance was Granted at the same time as her husband’s. Kushner’s clearance was first downgraded in February 2018. Background check concerns over one of her international business deals put up red flags, but Ivanka’s clearance was granted at the same time as Kushner’s was on May 1, 2018. The New York Times first reported Kushner getting clearance. Senior White House official John F. Kelly wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.
Ivanka completed Form 278 when she made her White House role official beginning in 2017, which legally bound to ethics rules. President Trump has the legal authority to order security clearances, but told the New York Times, “I don’t want to get involved in that stuff.”
Only in extraordinary cases does the president overrule decisions that are elevated from FBI jurisdiction to that of White House counsel, writes Andrea González-Ramírez for Refinery29.