Top Democrat on House Intel Committee calls for review of Kushner's security clearance

Rep. Schiff said Kushner's security clearance should be reviewed.

ByABC News
May 28, 2017, 10:14 AM

— -- The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat called for a review of Jared Kushner's security clearance over questions of whether he was truthful about his contacts with Russia.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, spoke to ABC News' Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview on "This Week" Sunday in the wake of revelations that Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, talked to the Russian ambassador about establishing a back channel for communications in December, before Trump took office.

“If these allegations are true and he had discussions with the Russians about establishing a backchannel and didn't reveal that, that's a real problem in terms of whether he should maintain that kind of a security clearance,” Schiff said.

"There ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid" about his Russia contacts, Schiff added in an apparent reference to what Kushner may have submitted in the security clearance application process. "If not, than there's no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance."

Kushner, who met with the Russian ambassador in December along with Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, asked for back-channel communications to discuss Syria and other policy matters, sources told ABC News.

The Democratic National Committee is calling for Kushner's security clearance to be suspended until the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates is completed.

"The FBI's Russia investigation reached Trump's backyard, and now it's in his house," the DNC deputy communications director Adrienne Watson said in a statement Thursday. "Kushner's security clearance should be suspended until the FBI's findings are complete."

U.S. intelligence operatives reportedly learned about Kushner's interest in back-channel talks through communications that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had with Moscow.Raddatz said Kislyak must know "he’s being monitored all the time" and asked Schiff if it was possible the Russians wanted U.S. intelligence to hear what the Russian ambassador said about Kushner.

"Could it be a ruse" by Russia to get Americans to suspect Kushner? Raddatz asked.

Schiff responded, "Certainly in dealings with the Russians, they're very sophisticated, you always have to take into consideration that the Russians may be doing things that are designed to throw you off the track or provoke discord."

He added, though, that "it's hard to understand ... why this would be some kind of a Russian ruse. Why would they want to undermine the very government that they hope to have a good relationship with?"

Schiff said that he expects Kushner to be asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat called for a review of Jared Kushner's security clearance over questions of whether he was truthful in his application about his contacts with Russia.

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