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Blumenthal Presses Director of National Intelligence on Kushner Security Clearance

During a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, Blumenthal also questioned the Trump administration’s lack of a response to Russian meddling during the 2016 election

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Under questioning by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee today, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats refused to acknowledge the national security threat presented by Jared Kushner’s continuing access to classified information and significant influence on foreign policy, despite Kushner’s inability to obtain a permanent security clearance and recent reports – acknowledged by Coats – exposing attempts by at least four foreign governments to manipulate Kushner based on his ongoing personal conflicts of interest.

“I’m sure you’re aware of both public and private information that at least four countries discussed how to influence and manipulate certain officials in the administration, in particular Jared Kushner…They discussed how to manipulate Jared Kushner through his business arrangements, his family’s financial difficulties, and his lack of policy experience,” Blumenthal said, also noting that Kushner continues to hold a temporary security clearance.

“Isn’t his continuing access to that information a threat to our national security?” Blumenthal asked.

Yesterday, following reports that Kushner’s family real estate firm received loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars after he met with representatives from several financial institutions in his capacity as Senior Advisor to the President, Blumenthal called for an Office of Government Ethics investigation into his conduct.

Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have also written White House Counsel Don McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking additional information about the process for allowing government employees, like Kushner, access to sensitive or classified information. Blumenthal first raised concerns about Kushner’s security clearance last summer, when he requested a review of Kushner’s security clearance after troubling allegations Kushner had concealed meetings with Russian officials – among them Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and VEB Chairman Sergey Gorkov – on his security clearance application. Shortly afterwards, Blumenthal demanded that Kushner’s clearance be immediately suspended following reports about Kushner’s contacts with Russian lobbyists and government-linked agents.

During today’s hearing, Coats also failed to give Blumenthal a clear answer regarding the Trump administration’s response to Russian meddling during the 2016 election.

“You’re talking to the American people now, who have been told that Russia attacked our nation. Can you assure the American people that the President told you to take effective, deterrent action, in addition to what we’re doing in the past?” Blumenthal asked.

After Coats didn’t answer, Blumenthal said, “I think the American people deserve to know whether, in fact, the President directed his top intelligence officials to effectively counter this continuing act of war on our country.”

The full video of Blumenthal’s exchange with Director Coats is available for download here.