Chairman cf the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr kushner helicopter...
Chairman cf the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr

The Trump White House double standard for family and close confidants is already legendary and is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner appears to still have his top-level security clearance. Politico writes:

On many days, [Kushner] receives classified briefings, according to a senior administration official — and he is often in the room with his father-in-law for sensitive decisions about classified issues. […]

One source said Kushner sometimes comes to National Security Council meetings “at least for part of the meeting” and that he often talks to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

In the meantime, anyone who wasn’t among Trump’s favored inner circle would have lost their security clearance in a heartbeat had they been in Kushner’s immediate situation.

“They would lose their job immediately,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “Their clearance would be gone.”  […]

“We’ll have clients who, you know, have $2,000 worth of debt that they did not disclose — they pay it off during the investigation and they still don’t get approved for security clearance,” said Joanna Friedman, an attorney with the Federal Practice Group, who has spent a decade representing employees seeking security clearances.

Most background checks for security clearances across the federal government are handled by the Office of Personnel Management, but the FBI processes the majority of White House applications and then forwards its recommendations to the White House. In other words, Trump ultimately has the authority over security clearances for his White House.

“If the president wants someone to have a clearance and access to classified information, there’s no one to tell him no,” said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists.

And this is the pr*sident who put a guy who was under investigation by the FBI (Michael Flynn) at the top of his national security apparatus and continues to defend the Kushner/Don Jr. effort to collude with the Russians as run of the mill. “That’s politics!” he wrote Monday. Or alternatively, “That’s conspiracy!” depending on how you look at it.

In fact, Trump’s nominee to head the FBI told senators last week that anyone who is contacted by a foreign government about interfering in a U.S. election should call the FBI—and presumably not because such a transaction is business as usual.

Only in Trump’s distorted house of mirrors is collusion something “most people” would do.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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