President Donald Trump on Friday said that White House chief of staff John Kelly will ultimately "make that call" regarding whether to waive or revoke Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner's interim security clearance. While President Trump can issue the highest-level security clearance to Kushner himself if he wants to, he's stated that he will leave Kelly in charge on the process going forward.
The White House's handling of security clearances has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of revelations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had worked for more than a year with only interim clearance.
"I can tell you that nothing that has taken place will affect the valuable work that Jared is doing", Sanders said.
Earlier this week, the White House maintained that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change. "There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise", he said. Most prominent among them is Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, who has had access to some of the nation's most sensitive material for the past year while waiting for his background investigation to be completed.
Trump expressed frustration with the federal government's process for security clearances, calling it a "broken system and it shouldn't take this long". Nobody ever reports that, but he gets zero, ' the president added.
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.More news: Bjoergen, American women make history at Olympics
More news: School Shooting Survivors Confront Politicians at Florida Town Hall
More news: Joe Schmidt: Ireland can't suddenly replace three British & Irish Lions
"The Deputy Attorney General has not referenced to the White House any specific concerns relating to this individual's security clearance process", spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
A top official at the US Justice Department brought new information related to Jared Kushner's ongoing background check to the attention of the White House earlier this month. Kelly had known about the broad allegations against Porter for months, and initially moved to defend him. Rosenstein also oversees the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who has scrutinized Kushner's contacts with foreign officials and business dealings as he examines Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
The policy change is also set to hit at least two dozen other White House officials, according to a senior administration official briefed on the change but not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
A White House official said staffers affected by the memo are being notified individually Friday.
Trump said there were "many people on that list" but that those struggling to obtain clearances included people with "not a problem in the world".