‘A political stunt’: GOP blocks effort to revoke Kushner’s security clearance despite Russia scandal
House Republicans on Thursday voted to block an effort by Democrats to revoke security clearance for Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner, claiming the move was an example of “a political stunt.”
As the Huffington Post reports, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) introduced an amendment Thursday that would bar any White House official “under a criminal investigation by a Federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government” from maintaining security clearance. The amendment was voted down during a House Appropriations Committee hearing, 22 to 30.
According to the Post, House Republicans argued the substance of the amendment was “already the law,” adding such a provision was unnecessary.
“The use of funding prohibitions to deny or remove security clearances is simply a political stunt and utterly unnecessary because security clearances can already be revoked because of criminal conduct,” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) said.
Kushner has come under scrutiny following revelations he failed to disclose a meeting with a Russian lawyer promising compromising information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. The New York Times reports that since joining the White House, Kushner has added the names of at least 100 foreign contacts to his federal disclosure form, which was required to obtain a security clearance.
Critics argue Kushner’s failure to disclose those contacts prove Trump’s son-in-law should no longer be granted security clearance.
“Revoking Jared Kushner’s security clearance would send a clear signal to anyone who would consider aiding and abetting a foreign enemy state to affect the outcome of a U.S. presidential election that they will not be entrusted with our nation’s most sensitive information,” Wasserman Schultz said during the hearing.
“This amendment is an important step in protecting the American people from the threat of hostile foreign interference,” she added. “That is not a controversial or a political goal.”
Wasserman Schultz previously headed the Democratic National Committee until stolen emails, obtained by Russian hackers, forced her out of the role. On Tuesday, the Florida representative reacted in disbelief to news that Kushner “colluded” with the Russian government to bring down Clinton.
“This meeting was attended by the president’s son-in-law, who is now a senior advisor inside the belly of the White House, right next to the president,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I mean, this is someone who has a top secret security clearance, which, if it’s not already revoked, it should be immediately because he also clearly participated in collusion.”
In addition to scrutinizing Kushner’s foreign contacts, investigators are reportedly looking into a digital operation headed by the top Trump adviser, which may have helped Russia target voters in specific jurisdictions during the campaign.