Several House Democrats want to make it easier for the FBI director to address security clearance concerns with White House staff.
Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced a bill July 28 that would allow the FBI director to revoke or prohibit the renewal of White House staffers’ security clearance in situations where it was considered a matter of national security, according to The Hill. Nineteen other House Democrats co-sponsored the bill.
Beyer said this in a statement on the issue:
“Donald Trump’s refusal to hold his senior staff accountable for their deceptions on Russia have sadly made this legislation necessary. Despite all we have learned about his secret meetings with Russians, Jared Kushner apparently continues to hold his clearance. Jared Kushner’s case and that of disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn make it clear that we need further protections when it comes to security clearances for the President’s family and closest advisers.”
If passed, the Security Clearance Review Act would “amend the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to authorize the FBI director to revoke the security clearance of an officer or employee of the Executive Office of the President for national security purposes,” the bill stated.
Introduction of the bill is due to an ongoing effort by some Democrats to revoke the security clearance of Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and his senior advisor, according to The Hill. It stems from Kushner’s private meetings with Russian officials during the 2016 election and the presidential transition, which he initially failed to report on his SF-86.
Beyer attempted to have Kushner’s security clearance suspended in April after news broke that he had omitted the Russian meetings from his SF-86.
The FBI’s response to that request stated that the president holds final authority to suspend or revoke the clearances of Executive Office of the President employees, the Alexandria News reported.
It’s unlikely the bill will pass because the Democrats are outnumbered by Republicans, who hold 240 seats in the House, says security clearance attorney Catie Young.
Beyer’s June attempt to get Kushner’s clearance revoked while congressional and law enforcement investigations continued managed to rally only 50 of the 194 House Democrats behind the cause.
Kushner isn’t the only Trump family member Beyer has targeted with clearance concerns. On July 19, he and 21 other House Democrats asked Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to review whether Ivanka Trump – Kushner’s wife, and the president’s daughter and assistant – properly disclosed her foreign contacts on her security clearance application.