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They're All Spectacular Scumbags

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 1, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 1, 2019 |


After withholding high-level security clearance from Jared Kushner for over a year, owing to a variety of reasons — multiple lies and omissions in security clearance forms; shady real-estate transactions; questionable dealings with foreign entities; uh, trying to establish backchannel communications with Russia — Jared Kushner was mysteriously granted that clearance last year. No one really understood why at the time, and according to Donald Trump, he had nothing to do with the decision. “I was never involved with the security” clearances, he had said. Kushner’s attorney, Abbie Lowell, also insisted that clearance was granted through normal measures. It was particularly strange because both Kushner and Ivanka Trump — who were granted only interim mid-level clearances while their background checks were pending — had had even those clearances pulled by John Kelly and Donald McGahn. And then, poof! The clearances magically came through!

There was such a big mystery surrounding Kushner’s clearance that the House Democrats planned to have hearings to get to the bottom of it. Those hearings no longer appear to be necessary, because now why know why: Donald Trump ordered that Kushner be given security clearance. He did so over the objections of the intelligence community, his own White House lawyer, Don McGahn, and over the objections of his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who wrote a contemporaneous memo explaining that he had been “ordered” to provide Kushner with his security clearance, because he sure as hell didn’t want to be blamed.

Granted, there is nothing illegal about what Trump did. Presidents are allowed to overrule the intelligence community, the legal office of the White House, and apparently every other official who looked into this matter, but it says something that Kushner so didn’t deserve that clearance that Trump had to grant it to him and then lie about it.

It also means that a guy who may be compromised by any number of banks, foreign governments, Chinese officials, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc., also has access to the country’s most sensitive information over the objection of everyone with a lick of common damn sense.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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