Feb 17, 2018

White House security clearance changes could affect Kushner's job

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jared Kushner's job as senior adviser to the president could be affected as early as next week by Chief of Staff John Kelly's new security clearance policies, Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Kushner has been able to access sensitive national security information that very few people have access to, despite operating on an interim security clearance for the last year. A senior administration official told the Post that Kelly's new plan puts a "bull's eye" on Kushner.

Kelly plans to revoke high-level access from those working on an interim security clearance, which means Kushner might not be able to access the sensitive information he does now. Kushner currently attends classified briefings, reads the daily intelligence briefing, oversees strategies for Middle East peace, and meets with foreign officials around the world.

That could all change, according to a senior administration official who spoke with the Post. The official said that Kelly "has been frustrated" with Kushner’s level of access and that he understands his new plan could make it difficult for Kushner to maintain his current role the way it is.

  • One of Kushner's attorneys, Abbe Lowell, told the Post that Kelly’s plan “will not affect Mr. Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president.”

Why it matters: Kushner isn't expected to get permanent security clearance any time soon, per two U.S. officials who spoke to WashPost. And the White House has dozens of employees working on an interim security clearance.

Go deeper: Read Kelly's plan for overhauling the security clearance process.

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Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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