Cummings: Security clearances probe ‘explicitly covers’ Kushner

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) had previously announced the House Oversight Committee was looking into the clerances of a number of top White House aides. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said on Thursday that his wide-ranging investigation into the White House’s process for issuing security clearances “explicitly covers” Jared Kushner, after a new report characterized the way the White House senior adviser obtained his clearance as unprecedented.

“My request letter to the White House explicitly covers Mr. Kushner, and we expect the White House to produce all of the documents and interviews we requested to determine if tonight’s breaking story is accurate,” Cummings (D-Md.) said.

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“The system is supposed to be a nonpartisan determination of an individual’s fitness to hold a clearance, not an ad hoc approach that overrules career experts to give the President’s family members access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets.”

Kushner’s application for a top secret security clearance was turned down by two career specialists who were then overruled in an unusual way by their superior, according to NBC’s report.

Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, was one of at least 30 cases in which former Pentagon employee Carl Kline turned down the advice of career specialists and granted top secret clearances, despite apparently concerning information existing. The report is based on two sources “familiar with the matter,” which POLITICO has not independently verified.

The request for Kushner clearance was hampered by his FBI background investigation, according to the report, which “identified questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and meetings he had during the campaign.”

Cumming’s probe, as POLITICO previously reported, also concerns a number of former administration officials including: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russia during the transition; Rob Porter, a former White House staff secretary who resigned after multiple allegations of domestic abuse; and former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka.