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Jared Kushner failed to disclose contacts with Russia when applying for top-secret clearance: report

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Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com)

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.

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“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

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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.

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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.

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2020 Election

Trump-Biden race could hinge on how this one Florida county swings

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Betty Jones voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, but the lifelong Republican has her doubts she will do it again this year.

The federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed about 200,000 Americans and forced older adults to restrict their activities has her contemplating a leadership change.

It “makes me unsure,” said Jones, 78, of Largo, in Pinellas County, Florida. Before COVID-19, she said, she would have definitely voted for Trump.

Polls show that many people will have the pandemic and its public health and economic consequences on their minds when they cast their votes — whether by mail or in person — this fall. Early in-person voting starts Oct. 19 in most Florida counties, including Pinellas.

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2020 Election

Cindy McCain crosses party lines to endorse Joe Biden

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The widow of late U.S. Sen. John McCain plans to endorse Joe Biden on Wednesday, giving the former vice president another boost from a prominent Republican.Biden leaked Cindy McCain’s political plans during a fundraising call Tuesday evening.“Maybe I shouldn’t say it,” Biden told campaign donors, “but I’m about to go on one of these Zooms with John McCain’s wife, who is first time ever, is endorsing me.”The last straw for McCain was a report from The Atlantic saying Trump told staff that American soldiers killed in combat were “suckers” and “losers,” according to Biden.“Because of what he talk... (more…)

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2020 Election

‘They’ll get away with it’: Strategist explains how GOP federal judges will help Trump steal election

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President Donald Trump will remain in power if he narrowly loses the 2020 presidential election, with conservative judges poised to help him "steal" the election, a longtime Democratic Party strategist warned on Tuesday.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed James Carville about the Supreme Court vacancy and how it could impact any legal wrangling about counting the votes.

"James, that's a pretty neat trick, the president is gaslighting out in advance voter fraud that he is promoting, ergo the need for nine justices on the court, which doesn't exist in law. The court has functioned just fine with eight during times of a death or a recusal," Williams noted. "Be that as it may, if Trump fills this seat before the election, in your view, how does that change the dynamic of the election?"

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