WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, had his security clearance restored after almost three months in limbo.
Kushner's lawyer said Wednesday that Kushner completed the background check process that began last year. It was held up in part because he neglected to fully account for his contacts with foreign nationals.
"His application was properly submitted, reviewed by career officials and went through the normal process," attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement. "Having completed these processes, Mr. Kushner is looking forward to continuing the work the president has asked him to do.”
Kushner's permission to view top secret information was revoked in February after White House Chief of Staff John Kelly declared a moratorium on temporary security clearances.
He was the most high-profile of several top White House staffers caught in the aftermath of a scandal involving Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary accused by former wives of domestic violence. Porter's security clearance was held up for almost a year while he worked on an interim clearance— though he continued to have access to almost every classified and unclassified document coming in and out of the Oval Office.
Tuesday, Trump signed a bill mandating that the White House Office of Administration report to Congress on the cause of backlogs in security clearances. As he signed the bill, Trump suggested that he could constitutionally refuse to enforce it.
The White House denied that the lack of a clearance would hamper Kushner's work, even though he was the White House point man on Middle East peace talks.
As one of Trump's closest advisers, Kushner has been a key figure in the special counsel investigation into suspected Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Kushner attended a meeting in June 2016 with a Russian at Trump Tower during the campaign in an attempt to get disparaging information on Hillary Clinton, and he attempted to set up a "back channel" to the Kremlin during the presidential transition.
Kushner sat down with investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller for at least the second time last month, said a source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the criminal investigation. His interview lasted more than six hours.
"A year ago, Jared was one of the first to voluntarily cooperate with any investigation into the 2016 campaign and related topics," said Lowell, Kushner's lawyer. "He answered all questions asked and did whatever he could to expedite the conclusion of all the investigation."
Whether the restoration of Kushner's clearance is somehow related to his cooperation with Mueller is not immediately clear. But attorney Edward MacMahon, who specializes in national security matters, suggested that the FBI would not have signed off on such a clearance if Kushner was a target of a ongoing criminal investigation.
"I just don't think a target of a federal investigation could be given a clearance by the U.S. government," MacMahon said.