John Kelly's Security Clearance Changes Run Afoul of the White House Nepotism Culture

I can see a power struggle emerging.

A few days ago, directives from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were made public, as he attempts to get a handle on an administration full of people who haven’t been able to get full security clearance.


Last week, Kelly announced that certain security clearances would be cut out, while the handling of interim security clearances would change.

The move became necessary, following the fall-out surrounding Rob Porter, the former staff secretary accused of domestic violence against several former wives and a girlfriend.

So who has had trouble gaining full security clearance, and will potentially be hobbled by these changes?

White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is still operating with an interim security clearance.

He’s not thrilled by the changes, either, and has reportedly told other White House officials that he’s not ready to give up his access to highly classified material.

On Tuesday night, Kelly said in a statement that he would not comment on anyone’s security clearance, but said he has “full confidence” in Kushner to continue handling his extensive responsibilities in regards to foreign-policy matters.

“As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico,” Kelly added.

“Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise,” Kelly said.


I’m going to take that to mean one of two things: Either Kelly expects Kushner to get his act together and get full clearance, or they’ll be giving him the nepotism rules for clearance.

Kushner has had to update his security clearance paperwork multiple times since entering the White House.

The relationship between Kushner, his wife, Ivanka Trump, and Kelly is said to be “tense,” and some recent rumors are that President Trump has been asking his country club friends if Kelly should remain as chief of staff, or if he should get the boot.

This move likely won’t better his chances for staying, as the White House has issued a statement that contradicts Kelly’s move on clearances, announcing that Kushner’s access will not change.


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