FILE PHOTO: White House senior advisor Jared Kushner speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump as Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Hous Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) look on during a bill signing ceremony for the “First Step Act” and the “Juvenile Justice Reform Act” in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump ordered his chief of staff in May to grant his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
It said senior administration officials were troubled by the decision, which prompted then White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to write an internal memo about how he had been ordered to give Kushner the top-secret clearance.
The White House counsel at the time, Donald McGahn, also wrote an internal memo outlining concerns raised about Kushner and how McGahn had recommended against the decision, it said.
The Times said the memos contradicted a statement made by Trump in an interview with the newspaper in January that he had no role in Kushner’s receiving his clearance.
Asked about the report, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “We don’t comment on security clearances.”
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell, said in an email that White House and security clearance officials last year asserted that Kushner’s clearance was “handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone.”
“New stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time,” Mirijanian said.
Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Steve Holland; writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Eric Beech and Sonya Hepinstall
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