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March 22 2018, 05:46 | Irvin Gilbert
Dozens Of White House Staffers Stripped Of Top Level Security Clearance
In the last week a number of White House officials - including Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law - have seen their "top secret" intelligence access revoked.
According to the report, Joshua Harris, the founder of Apollo Management - whose loan refinanced the mortgage on Kushner's Chicago skyscraper - who was advising Trump administration on infrastructure policy, also met with Jared Kushner previous year.
Among the many political norms shattered by President Donald Trump's administration is the widely agreed-upon range of acceptable roles for the first family. Among other things, the two men discussed a possible White House job for Harris.
The size of the loan by Apollo, one of the world's largest private equity companies, to refinance a Kushner mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper was three times the size of an average property loan made by the firm's real estate lending arm.
A third officer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that "Deputy General Prosecutor Rod Rosenstein has recently provided new information to the White House legal advisor, Don McGahn", which led to a breakdown of Mr. Kushner's request for security clearance.
The newspaper said it was unclear if any of those countries had acted on the discussions, but said Kushner's contacts with foreign government officials had raised concerns within the White House and were among the reasons Kushner had not yet been able to obtain a permanent security clearance. It is not clear what those issues are.
But Kushner's labyrinthine financial dealings have created something of a cloud over his official work in the West Wing, as observers have watched closely for signs of whether he might be using his position for personal gain.
A spokeswoman for Kushner Companies told The Times there was no connection between his White House meetings and the family business loans. The two men talked about financial and trade policy and did not discuss Kushner's family business, one person said.
Perhaps if Kushner weren't so politically motivated himself, he wouldn't have to worry about having his potential conflicts of interest scrutinized.
There is no evidence the meetings were about Kushner's finances, the Times reported, but the meetings raise significant ethics questions.
The White House insists that Kushner's job will be unaffected by this week's downgrade to his security clearance.
A spokesman for Kushner's lawyer, Peter Mirijanian, did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him as of press time.
Kushner's contacts with foreign officials are now under investigation by USA special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been probing Russia's interference in the last presidential election since May 2017.
Mueller learned that Kushner directed a campaign to combat the Obama administration's eleventh-hour effort in December 2016 to pass an anti-settlement resolution through the UN Security Council. According to government financial disclosures from previous year, he has lines of credit at the three banks, among others. The company has done at least $7 billion of deals in the past decade.