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Jared Kushner weighs in on security clearance after whistleblower expresses concern

Whistleblower on WH security clearances
Whistleblower on WH security clearances 02:48

Trump son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner defended himself Monday, following news that a whistleblower had come forward to talk with a congressional committee about 25 individuals who had been granted White House security clearances, although their applications had been rejected by career officials for "serious disqualifying issues."

"Over the last few years that I've been here, I've been accused of all different types of things, and all of those things have turned out to be false," Kushner said on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" Monday night. "We've had a lot of crazy accusations, like, that we colluded with Russia. I complied with all the different investigations, whether it be the Senate, the House, the special counsel. I've sat for nearly 20 hours of interviews with them."

Kushner had reportedly been working on an interim clearance for over a year before he was given a permanent clearance.

And on Monday evening, he implied that his business dealings had contributed to the lengthiness of the vetting process.

"When I came to Washington, I had a very successful business career," he told host Laura Ingraham. "I had extensive holdings.  I disclosed all of my holdings for the Office of Government Ethics, and what I did with them is they told me what to divest, what to keep, what rules to follow.  We followed all that."

However, as Major Garrett reported in July 2017, Kushner initially had to update a federal disclosure form needed to obtain a security clearance three times and added more than 100 names of foreign contacts through the updates after initially providing none at all. His first form had no foreign names on it even though people applying for a security clearance need to list any contact with foreign governments. At the time, Kushner's team said it was prematurely sent.

Kushner did not directly answer Ingraham when she referred to the grave concerns expressed by the whistleblower Tricia Newbold, who adjudicated security clearances for the Personnel Security Office.

Asked whether he posed a "grave national security concern to the country," he replied, "Look, I can say that in the White House, I worked with some phenomenal people and I think over the last few years, the president's done a phenomenal job of identifying what are our national security priorities."

And he added, "I hope I've played a good part in pushing those objectives forward.  And I think, because of the president's leadership, the world is safer today."

Ingraham also asked Kushner about President Trump's thinking on closing the border with Mexico, noting the tweets he's issued lately, and whether the threat was "to pressure Mexico."

"No, I think it's to pressure everybody," he replied. "This is something that needs a solution."

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