White House downgrades Trump son-in-law Kushner's security clearance

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In this Sept. 12, 2017, file photo, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (AP Photo)
In this Sept. 12, 2017, file photo, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (AP Photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has lost access to the most valued U.S. intelligence report, the President's Daily Brief, as the White House moves to impose greater discipline on access to secrets, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Kushner, a close Trump adviser who has been operating under an interim security clearance for about a year, had his access to the highly classified briefing cut off in the past few weeks, said the sources.

Kushner lost his access to the nation's deepest secrets after chief of staff John Kelly ordered that White House officials with interim clearances pending since before June 1, 2017, be cut off if they hadn't received permanent clearances by last Friday. A White House official confirmed to The Associated Press that Kelly's order has been implemented.

President Donald Trump could have reversed Kelly's decision and unilaterally offered Kushner a clearance, but deferred to Kelly. Kushner is one of dozens of White House aides who have been working without permanent security clearances for the better part of a year.

His attorney told the AP that Kushner's ability to do his job won't be affected by any change to his clearance.

"Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr. Kushner's level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for these clearance reviews to take this long in a new administration, and that the current backlogs are now being addressed," said Peter Mirijanian, a Kushner spokesman.

Kushner's portfolio once included the U.S. relationships with China and Japan and a host of domestic priorities, including infrastructure, trade and economic development. But his freewheeling reach in the foreign policy space — which was viewed as undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — already had been curtailed somewhat under Kelly.

Still, Kushner is reportedly said to have reviewed the highly secret presidential daily brief and has been in the room for some of Trump's most consequential domestic and foreign policy decisions.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that she would not comment on individual security clearances but called Kushner "a valued member of the team, and he will continue to do the important work that he's been doing since he started in the administration."

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