A former top official for both the Department of Defense and the CIA said Jared Kushner losing access to top-secret materials should end his time in the White House.
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser had his security clearance downgraded by White House chief of staff John Kelly, and that news broke as another report revealed Kushner’s flimsy government experience and financial troubles were possibly exploited by at least four countries.
Panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” agreed Kushner’s tenure in the White House had been problematic from the start, and his current status was untenable.
“It means he can’t access any of the intelligence community’s products or analysis, and that effectively means he cannot do his job as the top diplomat overseeing the Israeli, Palestinian peace process,” said Jeremy Bash, a former chief of staff for Leon Panetta when he served as CIA director and secretary of defense.
Bash said there were few roles of importance available in the White House for a staffer who lacked security clearance.
“None of us can even remember a West Wing staffer working on national security affairs who stayed in that job with a secret clearance,” he said. “I mean, maybe in the West Wing you could, you know, deliver the mail or mow the White House lawn or serve navy bean soup as an enlisted sailor, but you cannot be involved in policy making.”
“You can’t go into the White House situation room, have conversations, you can’t prepare the president for engagements with foreign leaders,” Bash added. “Part of that is reading those reports and working on very sensitive matters. I can’t see a single way that Jared can engage with relationships with China, with Mexico, with any of these sophisticated players, without access to top-secret, sensitive information. I think this is fatal for him.”
‘The monarch has taken a body blow’: Ex-prosecutor explains why Court ruling is devastating for Trump
On MSNBC Thursday, former federal prosecutor John Flannery broke down the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling against President Donald Trump on immunity from subpoenas.
"I think what it says is that the monarch has taken a body blow as a result of what will be an historic decision, as we've indicated," said Flannery. "I think that the position of the DA in New York is very special, because he can speed this up in a way that the House can',t and has a specific strength, I think, in this case, that it is criminal."
"The most significant thing about it is this is the first Supreme Court case in which there's ever been agreed that a prosecutor could subpoena a president," added Flannery. "Prior prosecutions have been federal, that have been treated by the Supreme Court. So this is a big difference. The majority of the court, 7-2, basically said, from 1740 on, the public is entitled to the testimony, to the evidence of any person. They said that the documents — the question is the character documents, not the character of the person. In this case, what we have is a situation which I bet that the DA is going to go to the court as soon as possible, move to compel an appearance to their subpoena, and going to have the discussion as to what if anything may be limited or excluded and get production as quickly as possible."
Trump officials demanded the Army ‘dig for misconduct’ to justify firing Lt. Col. Vindman
This week, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman willingly left the Army after decades of honorable service. He cited a concerted campaign of "bullying" from the highest branches of power in the United States, and now more details are becoming known.
A New Yorker report revealed that top aides to President Donald Trump were told that they needed to find dirt on Vindman that could justify the firing of the decorated war hero.
"Vindman expected to go to the National War College this fall—a low-profile assignment—then take another foreign posting," the New Yorker reported. "But, in a final act of revenge, the White House recently made clear that Trump opposed Vindman’s promotion. Senior Administration officials told [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper and Ryan McCarthy, the Secretary of the Army, to dig for misconduct that would justify blocking Vindman’s promotion. They couldn’t find anything, multiple sources told me. Others in the military chain of command began to warn Vindman that he would never be deployable overseas again—despite his language skills and regional expertise."
Russian bounties: Pentagon vows ‘action’ if intel confirmed
Top Pentagon officials pledged Thursday to "take action" if the US military could corroborate intelligence suggesting Moscow paid militants linked to the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke before a congressional committee as the Trump administration comes under pressure to explain media reports claiming the president was briefed on the intelligence -- but did nothing in response.
Milley said the information was "not corroborated."
"We'll get to the bottom of it. We are going to find out if, in fact, it's true. And if it is true, we will take action," he continued, without specifying what kind of action might be taken.