Five House Democrats on Thursday challenged senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s top security clearance for his failure to disclose meetings with Russian officials.
“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 lawmakers said in a statement. “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.”
The lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to FBI Director James Comey and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management calling for Kushner’s security clearance to be suspended pending an investigation into his “compliance with the law.” The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Ted Lieu of California, Peter Welch of Vermont and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.
The letter cites a New York Times article last week revealing that Kusher failed to disclose “dozens” of foreign contacts when he filled out an FBI national security form, as required for his clearance. Those contacts included at least two meetings with high-level Russians while Kushner was working on Trump’s transition: Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Gorkov, an executive of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank, which was under U.S. sanctions.
The representatives also demanded that Kushner “immediately make public all meetings he had with foreign government officials” from the time Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015 to his inauguration in January.
“Lack of candor, particularly regarding contacts with Russian officials, was a significant issue for the Trump transition,” notes the letter, pointing to Michael Flynn’s ouster as Trump’s national security adviser after “lying about foreign contacts” during the transition. “We are concerned that Jared Kushner may have engaged in similar deception,” the letter adds.
Deliberate false statements on a security form jeopardize clearance and can be prosecuted as a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, the letter points out.
There was no immediate response to the letter from the FBI.
Kushner’s attorney told the Times last week that Kushner submitted his form prematurely and promised the FBI in January to provide supplemental information. Aides told the Times Kushner hasn’t finished compiling the supplemental material.
The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to quiz Kushner as part of its ongoing probe into the Trump team’s Russian ties.