Jared Kushner failed to disclose contacts with Russia when applying for top-secret clearance: report
Jared Kushner failed to disclose dozens of contacts with foreign leaders and officials in recent months when he sought top-secret clearance in his father-in-law’s White House.
His lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said the questionnaire was submitted prematurely, on Jan. 18, and Kushner’s office notified the FBI the following day that he would provide additional information to the form, reported the New York Times.
“During the presidential campaign and transition period, I served as a point-of-contact for foreign officials trying to reach the president-elect” Kushner told the FBI, according to Gorelick. “I had numerous contacts with foreign officials in this capacity (and) I would be happy to provide additional information about these contacts.”
Gorelick said her client omitted those contacts — including meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, a graduate of the Kremlin’s spy school.
Withholding or misrepresenting information could result in losing access to classified information or even prosecution, the form warns, and knowingly falsifying or concealing information is a federal felony that carries a possible penalty of fines or up to five years in prison.
Clearance holders are allowed to update forms and avoid punishment if the omissions are determined to be oversights and not deliberate falsification.
Gorelick said his clients omitted his contacts in error
The Senate Intelligence Committee has told the White House that Kushner would be questioned about his meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov.
Michael Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser, had his own security clearance suspended for failure to properly disclose contacts with foreign officials and was fired Feb. 13 for lying to the vice president and other White House officials about his communications with Kislyak.
Kushner, who is married to President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, was cleared by the Justice Department to work in the White House as an unpaid adviser after determining his hire did not violate federal anti-nepotism laws.
Daniel Koffsky, deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel, determined that a 1978 law essentially overrides the 1967 anti-nepotism law, which he found covered only appointments in an executive agency — which the White House Office technically is not under the law.
“In choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office,” wrote Koffsky, a longtime Justice Department lawyer who is not a political appointee.