If you’re somebody, anybody that is part of the Trump administration or the Trump campaign, the last thing you want to do is get cute about any contacts with Russians, even if the meetings are above board. You certainly don’t exclude making note of those meetings if you’re filling out forms for security clearance.
But that’s exactly what Jared Kushner did:
When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.
But Mr. Kushner did not mention dozens of contacts with foreign leaders or officials in recent months. They include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank, arranged at Mr. Kislyak’s behest.
The omissions, which Mr. Kushner’s lawyer called an error, are particularly sensitive given the congressional and F.B.I. investigations into contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates.
This is not just bureaucratic paperwork. The form warns that “withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information” could result in loss of access to classified information, denial of eligibility for a sensitive job and even prosecution; knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.
Clearance holders are often allowed to amend disclosure forms and avoid punishment if omissions are deemed oversights rather than deliberate falsifications, and prosecutions are rare.
How is this an “oversight?” With the political climate being what it is and the sensitivity surrounding the Trump campaign and Russia, how on earth did he “forget” to list the meetings?
People familiar with national security are not impressed:
WTF?!? What a pathetic joke of excuses. He submitted his SF 86 BEFORE gathering info on foreign govt contacts? Are you kidding me?!? https://t.co/vMyowakLh7
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) April 7, 2017
I can't fathom how anyone let him submit that SF-86 in that way. That person should be fired.
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) April 7, 2017
I guess when your father-in-law is the boss, you can get away with such things.