By Rebecca Ballhaus
WASHINGTON — The House Oversight Committee on Friday renewed its request to the White House for documents related to the administration’s security-clearance processes, following reports that President Trump ordered his former chief of staff to grant his son-in-law a top-secret security clearance.
In a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the panel’s chairman, Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), said this was the committee’s last request for voluntary compliance, suggesting he could seek to compel the administration’s cooperation if the White House didn’t turn over the documents.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump had overruled concerns expressed by intelligence officials and former White House counsel Don McGahn and ordered former chief of staff John Kelly to grant Jared Kushner—his son-in-law and a senior adviser—a top-secret clearance. Kelly wrote an internal memo about the episode at the time, the Times reported.
Trump has denied involvement in Kushner’s or any other official’s security-clearance process. When Kushner received a top-secret clearance in May, his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said that his client’s application had been “properly submitted, reviewed by career officials, and went through the normal process.” Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and Kushner’s wife, said in an ABC News interview last month: “The president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance, zero.”
The White House declined to comment on the report. Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, said in a statement: “Whatever the accuracy or not of recent news stories, Lowell was not aware of nor told of any request for or action by the President to be involved in the security clearance process. Again, officials affirmed at the time that the regular process occurred without any pressure.”