Chief of staff John Kelly on Friday called for an overhaul of White House security clearance standards, following criticism that a top aide was allowed to remain on the job despite allegations of domestic abuse.
Effective one week from today, discontinue any Top Secret or SCI-level interim clearances for individuals whose investigations or adjudications have been pending since June 1, 2017 or before.
Kelly has been under fire from some in the West Wing for his handling of the Porter case, and Trump confidants say the president has been sounding out his friends on possible replacements.
Despite White House assertions otherwise, none of this is normal - either how long someone as high-level as Kushner has been able to keep their temporary clearance, or how long it has taken to do the background checks across the White House, according to experts on the subject.
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The memo says the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have offered their cooperation with Kelly's requests in recent days, and that "going forward, all [background investigations] of potential Commissioned Officers should be flagged for the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the outset and then hand-delivered to the White House Counsel personally upon completion".
You also testified yesterday that the F.B.I. completed a background investigation into White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter in late July, yet he remained in his position until last week.
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Kelly added, "We should-and in the future, must-do better".
But in a statement to the Post, Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said Kelly's memo "will not affect Mr. Kushner's ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president".
Kelly worked closely with White House Counsel Donald McGahn in discussing and outlining the changes, according to officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The memo represented the White House's latest effort to move past the Porter scandal, following a week during which White House spokespeople repeatedly contradicted themselves and pointed fingers at the Personnel Security Office, which is staffed by career officials. Copies were sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.
Yet, 13 months later, Porter still had interim clearance as the authorities continued to evaluate what the White House now says are "credible" and "true" allegations of domestic abuse. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Kushner's situation.
The changes come after the security clearance process was called into question during the fallout over spousal abuse allegations against Rob Porter.
Kelly said in his Friday memo that he "ended the granting of new interim clearances absent extraordinary circumstances and my explicit approval" in September. It submitted its findings immediately to the White House, where Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has said the personnel security office was conducting its own investigation.