Turns Out The Kushners Got Their Security Clearances The Old-Fashioned Way -- From Daddy
How you livin', Abbe Lowell? Still glad you staked your superlawyer reputation on the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Kushner, clients who will knowingly send you out to spout lies on the front page of The New York Times? Everyone knows Vanky and Jared are shady shitshows. But welcome to club of fine attorneys who cast their good names on the Trumpland dumpsterfire. The list is long ... and less than distinguished.
Okay, we know that bombshell story in the Times and the Washington Post last night revealing that Donald Trump overruled the FBI, CIA, and White House Counsel to grant his son-in-law top secret security clearance isn't really about Jared Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell. It's about the fundamental corruption at the base of the Trump administration. It's about nepotism. It's about a presidency where everyone in Trump's orbit is expected to cheerfully spout lies to the media to protect him and his family. Even without being explicitly instructed -- just like Michael Cohen said.
But MY GOD, what the hell is this statement from Lowell's spokesman Peter Mirijanian to the Times yesterday:
In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner's security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.
So the client lied, the White House lied, then the lawyer lied. But he can't actually call his client a liar, so he's huffily insisting that everything here is peachy fuckin' keen?
On January 31, Trump told Maggie Haberman that he never, no how interfered with Jared and Ivanka's security clearance:
TRUMP: I have the right to do it, but I never thought it was necessary, Maggie. I never thought it was necessary.
HABERMAN: And you didn't direct General Kelly or anyone like that to do it?
TRUMP: No. And, and frankly, I never thought it was necessary to do so.
On February 8, Ivanka told ABC's Abby Huntsman that Jared's clearance was blessed by God almighty, and there was never any backroom lobbying to get it through.
In reality, the president's daughter had been lobbying him hard to overrule the CIA and career staff who were shouting NFW THAT LITTLE WEASEL GETS A CLEARANCE! We've known for months about intelligence intercepts of Israeli, Chinese, Mexican, and Emirati officials plotting how to manipulate that craven little pisher. But the Times reports that the Kushners threw a massive shitfit when then-COS John Kelly cut off Jared's interim access last summer, stomping their feet and insisting that Daddy give it to them now:
That affected both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, who told friends and advisers that they believed that Mr. Kelly and Mr. McGahn [the White House counsel] were targeting them for petty reasons instead of legitimate concerns flagged by officials.
Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump both complained to the president about the situation, current and former administration officials said. In Mr. Kushner's case, Mr. Trump would often turn to other aides and say in frustration, "Why isn't this getting done?" according to a former administration official. On at least one occasion, the president asked another senior official if the person could sort out the issue. That official said no, according to this account.
Hey, remember that funny time on (see you next) Tuesday when Ivanka insisted that Americans don't want a living wage because they want to actually earn what they get? Turns out, she and Jared didn't want to "earn" their clearances by keeping out of the pockets of foreign governments and actually telling the truth on their SF-86 forms. They just wanted to get it the old fashioned way -- FROM DADDY. And then they wanted everyone around them to lie about it.
The day that Mr. Lowell described Mr. Kushner's process as having gone through normal routes, aides to Mr. Kushner had asked White House officials to deliver a statement from Mr. Kelly supporting what Mr. Lowell had said. But Mr. Kelly refused to do so, according to a person with knowledge of the events.
Apparently, former White House Counsel Don McGahn -- who would never, ever leak to the New York Times -- was so deeply disturbed when Trump overrode the career staff to grant Kushner top secret clearance that he DRAFTED A MEMO TO THE FILE. As did John Kelly. And they refused to publicly affirm the lie that Kushner's clearance had gone through regular channels, although they were perfectly happy to let everyone else around them lie with reckless abandon. And all the while, Donald Trump was threatening to revoke the actually earned security clearances of career public servants for the high treason of disagreeing with the Trump administration. So, please clap for Don McGahn and John Kelly, we guess.
And speaking of White House Counsel, we have a pretty good idea why McGahn's replacement Pat Cipollone has been dragging his feet on Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings's request for documents on the White House security clearance process. But if Mr. Cipollone thinks Chairman is going to roll over for Donald Trump like that scruffy little weenus Trey Gowdy, he's got another think coming. We're guessing that subpoena pen is about to get a hell of a workout, since this morning Chairman Cummings dropped this nice letter on Mr. Cipollone, detailing all the ways the White House has stalled his Committee in the past three months, and pointing out how very bad this looks in light of the most recent revelations that Trump lied his orange face off about Kushner's clearance.
For these reasons, I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation. I ask that you begin producing all responsive documents immediately, and I request that you begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the Committee. Please provide your response to the Committee by March 4, 2019.
[NYT / WaPo / NYT, again / Oversight Committee Letter to WH Counsel Cipollone]
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.