A new report suggests President Donald Trump pressured White House officials, including his former chief of staff John Kelly and counsel Don McGahn, to give his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump security clearance, despite their recommendations otherwise.
CNN reported that Trump’s efforts to grant clearances to Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, rankled West Wing officials.
Such decisions are usually made by the White House personnel security office after a thorough background check is conducted by the FBI. In the case of Ivanka and Jared, the personnel office raised concerns, prompting Trump to pressure McGahn and Kelly to grant his daughter and son-in-law clearances.
As both men refused, Trump granted them their security clearances, a decision the President has the legal authority to make.
The report follows the one by the New York Times which said Trump ordered his former chief of staff to grant Kushner a top-secret security clearance against concerns raised by intelligence officials. Both the President and his daughter denied he had any involvement in Kushner receiving the clearance, but the two reports seem to contradict those claims.
The latest CNN report, however, notes that according to a source, Ivanka may have been unaware of her father’s involvement in the matter, and she “did not seek, nor have, outside counsel involved in her process as no issues were ever raised.”
Although Ivanka did not require a high-level security clearance, being married to Jared, her receiving one was stalled by concerns raised during his security clearance investigation. A source further said that certain concerns about the President’s daughter also surfaced, but it remains unclear what they were.
The couple allegedly said at the time they were denied the clearance because of Kelly’s belief they did not belong in the White House.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings recently requested documents regarding the security clearance process, but the request was rejected by the White House as lacking “legal support” and as being “premature.” It is likely the House would now subpoena the documents.