The Slatest

Kushner Security Clearance Downgraded as Report Says Foreign Officials Considered Ways to Manipulate Him

Jared Kushner and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in New York on Feb. 20.
Jared Kushner and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in New York on Feb. 20.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Earlier Tuesday, Politico reported that a process initiated by White House chief of staff John Kelly—who’s trying to save face after it was revealed that top aide Rob Porter handled sensitive material for months after the White House learned he’d been accused of abusing two women—has resulted in downgrades to the level of access that Jared Kushner and other individuals who haven’t received full security clearances have to sensitive information. Minutes ago, the Washington Post published a story that explains why Kushner might be having trouble getting cleared:

Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. 

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said. 

Kushner’s family—which runs a large New York–based real estate company—has promoted its connections to the Trump administration while raising money in China and has long been known to be seeking foreign partners in a debt-ridden Fifth Avenue skyscraper project that’s already raised serious conflict-of-interest issues. Meanwhile, the Post reports, he’s been contacting foreign officials in a way that national security adviser H.R. McMaster found unusual:

H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. The issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perception of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings, according to the current and former officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

An NSC spokesman told the Post that McMaster and Kushner “work well together,” and Kushner’s lawyer called the paper’s report “unnamed sources peddling second-hand hearsay with rank speculation.”