ICYMI: House Democrats Call For Suspension Of Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance For Failing To Disclose Meetings With Foreign Officials

Apr 14, 2017 Issues: Civil Liberties, Homeland Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. --Yesterday, a group of House Democrats led by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) wrote to the FBI and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requesting that they suspend White House Senior Advisor and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance, citing his admission that he “omitted” required details about meetings with foreign officials from an FBI questionnaire.

The letter was signed by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter Welch (D-VT), who also issued the following statement:

“We were concerned last week that a story with significant national security implications – White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner’s ‘omission’ of meetings with foreign government officials – did not receive the scrutiny it deserved. Mr. Kushner must divulge the details of his meetings with foreign officials and explain why he did not reveal them when he was clearly required by to do so by law.

“The fact that Kushner is President Trump’s son-in-law does not place him above the law. Anyone else would face severe discipline for failing to disclose meetings with foreign officials, a material omission which potentially amounts to a criminal offense.

“Furthermore, background checks for security clearances are in large part assessments of the judgment of the person being evaluated. Mr. Kushner signed a legal document that withheld details about significant meetings with foreign officials, including meetings with allies and emissaries of Vladimir Putin. This action throws Mr. Kushner’s judgment into serious question and doubt.

“We are gravely concerned about the larger context within which this omission occurred. 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 why these meetings took place and what they mean for U.S. foreign policy.”

Background: the New York Times’ reported on Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials and his subsequent omission of those meetings from the OPM form on Thursday, April 6, 2017.

The form in question was OPM’s SF-86, “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.” Instructions on page two of that form note the following:

“The U.S. Criminal Code (title 18, section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five (5) years imprisonment. In addition, Federal agencies generally fire, do not grant a security clearance, or disqualify individuals who have materially and deliberately falsified these forms, and this remains a part of the permanent record for future placements. Your prospects of placement or security clearance are better if you answer all questions truthfully and completely. You will have adequate opportunity to explain any information you provide on this form and to make your comments part of the record.”

Full text of the letter follows, and a copy with signatures may be viewed here.