After Democrats on the House Oversight Committee sent out requests to the White House asking for information on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, specifically how the couple and advisers to President Donald Trump were able to obtain security clearances, the administration sharply rebuked those efforts and told the committee it would not hand over that information.
The president himself went to Twitter earlier this week, and suggested he would even be difficult to work with if subpoenas were issued for those or any other documents from the West Wing.
“[Democrats] are desperately trying to find anything they can, even a punctuation mistake in a document!” Trump suggested.
Congressman Chris Stewart: “No one is accusing the President of a crime and yet they (the Democrats) are issuing hundreds of subpoenas. This is unprecedented.” They are desperately trying to find anything they can, even a punctuation mistake in a document!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2019
The impasse left some to wonder how far down the legal route Democrats would be willing to go in order to compel the White House to hand over the documents. That question is now going to become largely avoided after reporting from Axios Monday morning revealed that the House Oversight has received those documents through other means.
An unnamed source within the executive residence has turned over the documents to the committee, Axios reported, and had actually already done so prior to the requests being sent out. They provide a timeline not just for the controversial back-and-forth Kushner went through in order to obtain his top secret security clearance, but also how Ivanka Trump was able to so so as well.
According to one of the documents, which Axios was able to obtain itself, there was significant disagreement over whether Kushner deserved such clearances at all.
His status in the fall of 2017 was changed to “interim top secret” due to some questions within the executive branch over whether the Department of Justice could confirm Kushner was “actually granted a final clearance,” the document read. “This action was taken out of an abundance of caution because the background investigation has not been completed.”
In February of 2018, the document went onto explain, Kushner’s status was downgraded by then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. The New York Times last week detailed that President Trump himself intervened in May and, despite the objections from Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn, ordered Kushner’s top secret clearance be restored.
Efforts by Axios to discuss the matter with the White House had not been returned as of this reporting. Hill Reporter separately made attempts to reach the White House, and we were directed to send an email inquiry to the press office. If a response is returned, this story may be updated.
The leak presents a twofold problem for the administration. In the immediate, information it did not want the Oversight Committee to have is now in their hands. Longterm, the White House has to be concerned now over whether more leaks will come about, and on what matters they will pertain to.