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Kushner denies discussing his security clearance with Trump

Kushner denies discussing his security clearance with Trump
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner tour Westminster Abbey as part of a state visit in London, Britain June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson -
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner denied that he spoke with the president about his security clearance, according to an interview with the Axios news outlet that comes amid a congressional investigation of the issue.

A House of Representatives committee is investigating whether some staffers in Trump’s White House received high-level security clearances over the objections of career officials.

Those staffers include Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, congressional sources have told Reuters.

Asked if he had discussed his clearance with Trump, Kushner told Axios: “I have not discussed it with him.”

Ivanka Trump, the Republican president’s elder daughter, told ABC News in a February interview that she and Kushner did not receive special treatment regarding their clearances. Kushner previously told Fox News he had complied with all government ethics rules when taking on the White House job following Trump’s 2016 election victory.

In February the New York Times cited sources saying Trump had ordered Kushner be given top-secret clearance, despite qualms by some officials.

Top-secret security clearances are granted after in-depth background checks and are required if government officials need access to highly classified information.

In April, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee released a letter to the White House outlining a whistleblower’s allegations raising questions about how security clearances were granted to some Trump aides.

The security clearance investigation is one of several being pursued by the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a majority, into Trump, his administration, his family and his businesses.

Representatives of the committee could not be immediately reached for comment on Kushner’s remarks.

The White House had initially refused to cooperate with the Oversight panel’s clearance probe but later allowed the former head of the White House office for security clearance to provide limited testimony to congressional investigators.

A congressional aide said the official, Carl Kline, confirmed he had loosened rules over the objection of career security staff.

(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)

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