Trump sought to strike down the rumors through a series of tweets to his millions of followers, shooting one out Tuesday night after dinner.
The move came after questions about the lobbyists were posed to Trump on “60 Minutes” after he railed against them and “Washington insiders” during his campaign.
Speaking with reporters gathered at Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday, Trump communications adviser Jason Miller denied reports of a Jared Kushner grudge. Miller laughed, saying, “Couldn’t be further from the truth. Jared did a fantastic job with the campaign. Obviously the president-elect seeks and respects his counsel very much.”
Kushner, described by one source as “ubiquitous,” was among Trump’s most trusted and powerful advisers, overseeing several aspects of the campaign.
Intelligence and sources familiar with the subject confirm that security clearance has been requested for Kushner. Trump transition senior adviser and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters that she didn’t believe such clearance being sought for Trump’s son-in-law indicates impropriety.
“It’s appropriate for whoever’s going to get the presidential daily briefing to have a security clearance,” she said. “It’s not just appropriate, necessary.”
As Kushner’s influence grows, the team that Christie built is now being effectively dismantled, leading to delays in the selection process. For example, Christie had signed a memorandum of understanding, which is necessary to begin the official transition process with the current White House staff.
When Pence took over the role, a new memorandum of understanding had to be signed, delaying when the White House could deliver to the team necessary briefing materials and deploy transition landing teams to governmental agencies. Trump’s transition timeline isn’t yet behind Barack Obama’s in most respects (Obama had his first news conference by Nov. 7, 2008, three days after the election, and Trump has yet to have one); announcements of key positions are being delayed by a myriad of potential conflicts of interest.
“We are just very grateful for the hospitality today for the vice president and the second lady,” Pence said. “Most importantly, I think they made real progress in talking Mrs. Pence into a new dog.”
ABC News’ John Santucci, Justin Fishel, Katherine Faulders, Serena Marshall and Ryan Struyk contributed reporting.