White House staff members have expressed concern over whether or not senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner will be able to get permanent security clearance in light of news that he attended a meeting with a Russian attorney in order to get dirt on Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Kushner currently enjoys interim clearance due to his position in President Donald Trump‘s administration, but he had an interview with the FBI on June 23 as part of a review for permanent clearance.
According to a CNN report, an official within the administration says that there are those in the White House who don’t think Kushner will get the clearance he’s seeking. Call it a hunch, but something tells me he’ll be just fine, considering that his father-in-law is President of the United States.
See, that’s the thing with White House staffers. Their boss is the President, and everything there runs through POTUS. Sure, the FBI is conducting the investigation into whether Kushner should get clearance, but as CNN noted, the decision ultimately rests with the White House. Should White House officials deny clearance to Kushner, President Trump can simply reverse the decision.
This is yet another example of a broken system. I don’t mean the Trump administration specifically, but the White House in general. The President picks the people he wants to work with him in the White House, and he’s also the same person who decides their fates when it comes to security clearance or disciplinary measures. No matter what the FBI digs up on Kushner, can anyone seriously imagine President Trump not letting him get security clearance? Of course not.
Similarly, it was no surprise when Kellyanne Conway didn’t face discipline after she promoted Ivanka Trump products on national television, in what appeared to be a clear violation of rules for federal employees. While the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) could—and did—recommend an investigation, they were powerless to actually enforce discipline, because that power rests with the White House and the President.
Of course Trump is going to have Kushner’s back. Not only was it his choice to have Kushner by his side, he’s also family. Sure, President Trump has made plenty of questionable decisions that have raised the eyebrows and ire of his critics, but if Trump makes sure Kushner gets clearance, I wouldn’t blame him. Maybe I’m jaded, but I figure most people in Trump’s position would do the same thing. I’m not saying it’s right, but when the system gives them that sort of loophole, I expect them to take advantage of it. So when Kushner gets his clearance, no matter what other Russia news may or may not be uncovered beforehand, critics should be mad at the government’s rules, not the President.
Ronn Blitzer is the Senior Editor of LawNewz.com and a former prosecutor in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @RonnBlitzer
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.