White House senior aide Jared Kushner’s multiple omissions on required financial disclosure forms for his security clearance would “be a crime, punishable by prison” for other people, Fox News host Shepard Smith said Thursday.
“Apparently not in this case,” Smith added.
The White House has implied that Kushner’s frequent revisions to his financial forms to provide information that was incorrect or missing have caused delays which have held up his security clearance, even though he works with an interim clearance that allows him to view classified information.
Donald Trump’s son-in-law “submitted his application and did not include 100 contacts with foreigners,” Smith said on “Shepard Smith Reporting.” He “later had to go back and include them … but he did not include the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer and Russian translator. So that was another amendment to this thing.”
Revisions made last July by Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, added 77 previously undisclosed assets and more than $10 million in holdings.
Further additions were made as recently as last month, according to a letter obtained by Talking Points Memo. The letter to White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino dated Jan. 3 added a number of additional business interests. It also corrected and added new corporate positions that Kushner was legally required to disclose in his initial paperwork.
A conviction for withholding, misrepresenting or falsifying information on the form for security clearance can result in up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison.
“It’s really uncommon you’d still be trying to get the form correct at this stage in the game,” Don Fox, a former acting director and general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics, told TPM. Fox served under presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
The financial disclosure information is required by federal law so that investigators can determine any possible conflicts of interest or criminal activity in a security clearance probe. Kushner has yet to obtain full security clearance for access to highly sensitive classified information 13 months after he stepped into his White House role. Yet he can access classified information on a temporary basis.
It’s really uncommon you’d still be trying to get the form correct at this stage in the game.
Don Fox, former general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics
White House chief of staff John Kelly is cracking down on the security clearance protocol In the wake of the Rob Porter scandal. The White House staff secretary resigned after revelations of domestic violence accusations against him. The domestic violence claims had been disclosed to officials working on his security clearance. But Kelly indicated that Kushner will not be affected by the new standards, CNN reported.
Besides the delays caused by Kushner’s frequently amended information, it’s also possible that information in the forms is raising a red flag.
Kushner is reportedly under investigation by Mueller for a meeting in Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign with representatives linked to the Kremlin who purportedly would disclose information harmful to Hillary Clinton. Mueller also questioned Kushner about his interactions concerning Russia with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Mueller is also examining meetings with international leaders Kushner had during the administration transition and afterward, while his family real estate business was seeking global investments, CNN reported.
An Israeli insurer invested $30 million in the Kushner family real estate firm shortly before Kushner traveled to Israel on a diplomatic mission in May 2017, The New York Times reported.
In addition, The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, are investigating the Kushner company’s participation in the EB-5 visa program. The program provides green cards to well-heeled foreigners who invest a minimum of $500,000 in certain businesses. At least two Kushner real estate projects in New Jersey have benefited from the program.
Kushner stepped down from running Kushner Companies but is still a key investor in its operations.