A crackdown on security clearances at the White House won't have any impact on the work of Jared Kushner, the presidential son-in-law and senior adviser who's been working on an interim security clearance for more than a year, the White House said Tuesday.
Kelly released a memo last Friday saying he would revamp the granting of such clearances after one of the president's top aides, Rob Porter, was forced to resign after allegations of domestic violence from his two ex-wives were revealed. As a result, Kushner is reportedly not pleased that Kelly is planning to restrict his access to highly classified information as well as to President Trump himself.
Kelly, in a statement, said the White House looks forward to Kushner maintaining his role working on the Middle East peace process and U.S. -Mexico relations. The women told the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewers that Porter had physically and emotionally abused them, but he was able to continue working in the White House with a temporary security clearance.
In a five-page memo to the White House counsel, national security adviser and deputy chief of staff for operations, Kelly called for all background check investigations into potential top White House officials to be delivered directly to the White House Counsel's office by the FBI and for the FBI to share "significant derogatory information" uncovered in the course of investigations into senior staff with the White House within 48 hours, according to a copy of the memo released by the White House.
Kelly said that he assured Kushner that the policy was not an attempt to push him out of the president's inner circle.
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Trump, however, has given Kelly his full support in efforts to reform the White House's system of security clearances, and has told his chief of staff that changes need to be made to bring the system into order, according to a person who has spoken to him about the matter. The President also told Kelly privately that he has his support, adding that he "had a hell of a week" and emerged stronger.
Kelly also coached White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on how to answer when asked about Kushner's clearance issues.
Sanders declined on Tuesday to get into Kushner's clearance status but said "nothing that has taken place will affect the valuable work Jared is doing".
"Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President's agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise".