Top Dems demand review of aide’s security clearance

By Hope Yen and Vivian Salama

Published 4:40 pm, Sunday, May 28, 2017
  • White House adviser Jared Kushner reportedly had proposed secret communications with Russia. Photo: Evan Vucci, Associated Press

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Image 1 of 1 White House adviser Jared Kushner reportedly had proposed secret communications with Russia. White House adviser Jared Kushner reportedly had proposed secret communications with Russia.

Photo: Evan Vucci, Associated Press

Top Dems demand review of aide’s security clearance

1 / 1 Back to Gallery WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats[1] demanded Sunday to hear directly from top White House adviser Jared Kushner[2] over allegations of proposed secret back-channel communications with Russia, saying the security clearance of President Trump’s son-in-law may need to be revoked.

Trump, having returned from a nine-day overseas trip, immediately railed against administration leaks, calling them “fabricated lies,” in a flurry of tweets. And Homeland sk© Security SAVER SALE[3] Secretary John Kelly[4] defended the idea of establishing that kind of communication as a “smart thing” and said he didn’t see “any big issue here” for Kushner. But to the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, it’s “obviously very concerning” that a key Trump campaign figure was possibly seeking secret communications with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in the 2016 election.

Rep. Adam Schiff[5] of Burbank said the government needed to “get to the bottom” of the matter and urged a review of Kushner’s security clearance “to find out whether he was truthful.” “If not, then there’s no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance,” Schiff said. The Associated Press[6] and other news organizations reported that Kushner in December proposed a back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team.

Kushner spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak[7] about facilitating sensitive discussions to explore the incoming administration’s options with Russia as it developed its Syria policy. The intent was to connect Trump’s chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn[8], with Russian military leaders, a person familiar with the discussions said. The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner’s attendance until March.

At the time, a White House official dismissed it as a courtesy meeting. Sen. Cory Booker[9], D-N.J., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee[10], described the latest allegations involving Kushner as “serious” and called for a thorough investigation. “He needs to answer for what was happening at the time,” Booker said. “What’s worrying me are the patterns we’re seeing.

So one is this administration not talking about our values, cozying up to authoritarian leaders. And the other pattern we have is just a continuous drumbeat of inappropriate contacts with the Russians.” Lawyers for Kushner said he was willing to talk with federal and congressional investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign.

The disclosure of the back channel put the White House on the defensive. Just back from visiting the Middle East and Europe, Trump on Sunday dismissed recent reports as “fake news.” “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies,” Trump tweeted.

Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Kelly appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week,” Schiff also spoke on ABC, and Booker was on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Hope Yen and Vivian Salama are Associated Press writers.

References

  1. ^ Democrats (www.sfgate.com)
  2. ^ Jared Kushner (www.sfgate.com)
  3. ^ Homeland sk© Security SAVER SALE (www.sfgate.com)
  4. ^ John Kelly (www.sfgate.com)
  5. ^ Adam Schiff (www.sfgate.com)
  6. ^ The Associated Press (www.sfgate.com)
  7. ^ Sergey Kislyak (www.sfgate.com)
  8. ^ Michael Flynn (www.sfgate.com)
  9. ^ Cory Booker (www.sfgate.com)
  10. ^ Foreign Relations Committee (www.sfgate.com)

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