President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, seems to be getting more and more involved in the controversy surrounding the president, his campaign team, and Russia.
Lawmakers, critics of the administration, and former and current members of the intelligence community have been asking for Kushner’s security clearance to be scaled down, as congressional committees investigate whether the Trump campaign’s digital branch, run by Kushner, colluded with Russian hackers to spread fake news about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Kushner is also noted to have attended Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya who promised to provide damaging information on Hillary Clinton, back in June 2016. Then campaign manager Paul Manafort also attended the meeting; however, Kushner reportedly left the meeting after only 10 minutes.
While most of the criticism Kushner faced in the recent past has been partisan, Republicans also seem to be tired of the drama surrounding the presidential family and are now calling for Kushner to quit his role in the White House and the administration.
“I’m going out on a limb here, but I would say that I think it would be in the President’s best interest if he removed all of his children from the White House,” Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), former chairman Republican Study Committee, said while talking to a local radio on Thursday morning. “Not only Donald Trump, but Ivanka and Jared Kushner.”
With a wide ranging foreign policy portfolio, Kushenr has, to-date, amended his security clearance from twice to include initially unreported meetings with several Russians.
“It’s very hard for me to imagine anyone else being allowed to continue their clearance if they participated in a meeting like the one that just became public,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview.
Schiff is also investigating allegations on the Trump campaign’s analytics division that it attempted to help Russian social media activists and hackers to push negative news on Clinton. Even though Schiff did not take any names, it’s clear that Kushner will be the focal point of this investigation since he was running the division. Brad Parscale, the campaign’s data and digital director also said on Friday that he will speak to the committee as part of its probe.
Democrats, it seems, have their gun ready and aimed towards Kushner’s security clearance. Following the disclosure of emails and revelation of the meeting with the Russian lawyer, Kushner was forced to modify his clearance form for a second time, leading to investigators interviewing him once again. On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) said Kushner’s security clearance should be “immediately” revoked.
Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have both expressed concerns regarding Kushner’s security privileges. However, they have not yet received any answer to their letter about Kushner’s clearance status and his eligibility from Marcia Kelly, in charge of White House security clearance, or Andrew McCabe, acting Director FBI.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) vice chariman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has also said that his committee will ask both, Trump Jr. and Kushner, for more documents.
Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.) said that his committee will ask Kushner and Trump Jr. for additional documents, while Grassley has said that he wants to speak with Kushner.
A few Democrats, however, simply want Kushner to quit from his position in the White House.
“You don’t think the Republicans would be calling for the resignation of an Obama official who allowed the president and vice president to openly lie about a major national security issue?” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters. “He watched his father-in-law on TV say no one in [the Trump] campaign talked to the Russian government.”
Kushner’s digital operations during the campaign have also offered congressional and federal investigators, another case to probe.
Allegedly, in the days leading up to Election Day, a group of bloggers, hackers, and other online influencers published negative and fake news about Clinton. The network of hackers, allegedly, put out false information on Clinton, to millions of voters on Facebook and Twitter in key states and cities.
Authorities are now looking into reports that the Trump campaign’s digital wing helped Russian hackers identify targets since it had detailed data on voters. According to several reports that have surfaced recently, Kushner has long been seen by both, congressional and federal investigators, as the key to unraveling the mystery of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.