Officials from four different countries have discussed ways they could possibly manipulate President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, it was reported yesterday. The discussions centered on taking advantage of complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience the young adviser has, according to U.S. officials. Among the nations discussing ways to influence the President’s son-in-law were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.
Kushner contacts with both foreign government and business officials has been the source of tension within the White House with senior officials expressing concern over the young aide’s behavior.
H.R. McMaster, the White House National Security Adviser, learned that Kushner had had contacts with foreign officials that he did not set up through the National Security Council, nor officially report. The concerns have been raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings, according to officials.
Kushner’s security clearance has been the subject of media coverage in recent weeks as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s new policies that severely curtail security clearances for White House officials whose background checks have been pending for months, have been implemented. Jared Kushner’s security clearance has been pending since June.
It was confirmed yesterday that his security clearance level was downgraded to Secret level, from Top Secret/SCI-level, meaning Kushner is now barred from viewing some of the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive reports and information, including the Presidential Daily Brief. According to reports, Kushner had requested more U.S. intelligence information than any other White House staffer not working for the National Security Council in the time he’s been at the White House.
There had been some question as to how Kelly would handle Kushner’s security situation considering the wide-reaching portfolio of both foreign and domestic initiatives President Trump had given him. The White House had maintained that Kushner’s ability to work on his portfolio would remain unaffected by any changes but haven’t exactly explained how.
President Trump has largely stayed out of the matter. Asked whether he would carve out a special exemption for Kushner, the President said the decision would be Kelly’s. “I will let general Kelly make that decision. And he’s going to do what’s right for the country. And I have no doubt he will make the right decision,” the President said.