White House: New policy won't affect Trump's son-in-law

Source: Kushner meeting with Russian bank exec was effort to 'engage with' Russia

The White House, per Chief of Staff John Kelly, is overhauling its security clearance process after the Rob Porter scandal exposed that staffers who were working close to the president, including Jared Kushner, were still under interim security clearances because they had not passed their background checks.

Kushner is the elephant in the room when it comes to security clearance, The Washington Post reports, with White House Counsel Don McGahn's office feeling "they can not take action on other people whose background checks have dragged on because they did not take similar steps with Kushner".

Kushner is a senior adviser at the White House and was the lead contact for foreign governments during the presidential transition.

Kushner has reportedly become frustrated with Kelly's new effort, saying he felt personally targeted by the memo, the Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. In a statment distributed by the White House, Kelly offered strong support for Kushner's "valuable contributions", including on the issue of achieving Middle East Peace. Kelly did not directly reply to that line of inquiry, instead releasing the statement on Kushner, who is Trump's son-in-law.

More news: Saudi- Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency

Kushner has held an interim security clearance for more than a year, his attorney, Abbe Lowell, told The Associated Press last week.

Kelly's change only applies to clearances for access to the apex of the classification pyramid — top secret and sensitive compartmented information — not to lower-level clearances required to handle secret or confidential information. This source pointed to the fact that Kushner is part of the President's family and has outlasted all of his rivals in Trump's inner circle, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager David Bossie.

The fallout from that is what's prompting the overhaul, which Kelly signed off on last week.

"I will not comment on anybody's specific security clearance situation", Kelly said, adding that "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". "He'll continue to do the important work that he's been focused on for the past year". "There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise", Kelly said.

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