New York Times

Jared Kushner Gets Security Clearance as He Tries to Move Past Mueller Inquiry

Jared Kushner Gets Security Clearance as He Tries to Move Past Mueller Inquiry

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been granted a permanent security clearance, ending a period of uncertainty.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, has been granted his permanent security clearance, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday, ending a period of uncertainty that had fueled questions about whether Mr. Kushner was in peril in the special counsel investigation.

Mr. Kushner’s F.B.I. background checks had dragged on for a year. White House officials were adamant that the lengthy process was not unusual for a government official who has a complicated financial history and many foreign contacts. But the delay became a distraction and, with the special counsel investigating some of Mr. Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials, it left open the question of whether investigators had uncovered evidence that made him a security threat.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is investigating whether anyone around Mr. Trump conspired with the Russian government to help influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Kushner’s meetings with the Russian ambassador, a Kremlin-connected lawyer and a prominent Russian banker have all attracted scrutiny.

Mr. Kushner’s clearances were approved by career officials after the completion of the F.B.I. background check, and the president was not involved in the process, according to the person briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because clearance decisions are supposed to be secret.

The resolution of his clearances does not guarantee that Mr. Kushner faces no legal jeopardy. But Mark S. Zaid, a veteran Washington lawyer who handles security clearances, said it was highly unlikely that the special counsel would uncover evidence of improper foreign entanglements and not flag it for security officials.

“If I were Jared Kushner, I’d be sighing a breath of relief today,” Mr. Zaid said.

The special counsel’s investigation had not caused the delay, said Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe D. Lowell. “With respect to the news about his clearances, as we stated before, his application was properly submitted, reviewed by numerous career officials and underwent the normal process,” Mr. Lowell said. “Having completed all of these processes, he’s looking forward to continuing to do the work the president has asked him to do.”

A White House spokesman did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Mr. Lowell said that Mr. Kushner has cooperated fully with the special counsel and met with Mr. Mueller’s investigators twice for many hours. “In each occasion, he answered all questions asked and did whatever he could to expedite the conclusion of the investigations,” Mr. Lowell said.

Mr. Kushner was among several White House officials who spent the first year of the administration working under provisional clearances, meaning he was allowed to view classified information while his F.B.I. background check was pending. Those clearances were stripped in February under a new White House policy.

Wednesday’s decision restores his top-level clearances, which previously gave him access to some of the nation’s biggest secrets, including the presidential daily brief, the intelligence summary Mr. Trump receives every day. Mr. Kushner is also leading the Trump administration’s effort to forge a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, a thorny diplomatic goal that has eluded many administrations.

The long delay in Mr. Kushner’s security approval was at least in part of his own making. When he initially filed his clearance application, he left blank the section requiring him to disclose his foreign contacts. As a New York real estate developer and the point person for the presidential transition on many diplomatic issues, Mr. Kushner had many such contacts.

His lawyers scrambled to amend the form, saying they had inadvertently filed the document before it was complete. But among the undisclosed foreign contacts were meetings with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak; the head of a Russian state-owned bank; and a Russian lawyer who came to Trump Tower promising political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

That fueled suspicion that the Trump administration was concealing its Russian contacts.

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