WASHINGTON — Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner on Monday dismissed concerns raised by a whistleblower about the White House’s security clearance process, saying President Donald Trump’s administration has faced “a lot of crazy accusations” during the past two years.
Kushner, a senior White House aide, sat for a rare interview with Fox News following the revelation that Tricia Newbold, a longtime White House security adviser who is from Madawaska, had told a congressional committee that she and her colleagues issued “dozens” of denials for security clearance applications that were later approved despite their concerns.
Newbold, an 18-year veteran of the security clearance process who has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, said she warned her superiors that clearances “were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security.”
Kushner, who Trump ultimately demanded be granted a permanent top-secret clearance despite concerns of intelligence officials, told Fox host Laura Ingraham that he “can’t comment for the White House’s process.”
“But I can say over the last two years that I’ve been here, I’ve been accused of all different types of things and all of those things have turned out to be false,” he added. “We’ve had a lot of crazy accusations, like that we colluded with Russia.”
Kushner was referring to conclusions of a report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered to senior leaders at the Justice Department. After reviewing the report, Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress last week, saying Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
During the Fox News interview, Ingraham noted that Newbold had said she has “grave concerns” about the security-clearance process and asked Kushner if he poses a “grave national security concern to the country.”
Kushner laughed and said: “Look, I can say that in the White House I work with some phenomenal people and I think over the last two years the president’s done a phenomenal job of identifying what are our national security priorities. He’s had a great team in place that are helping implement it, and I hope I’ve played a good part in pushing those objectives forward.”
Washington Post writers Rachael Bade and Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.