The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), said Sunday that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's security clearance should be reviewed in light of revelations about his meetings with Russian officials before President Trump took office.
Schiff's comment came after The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner, also the president's son-in-law, attempted to set up back-channel communications with the Russian government during the presidential transition.
“There’s another question about his security clearance and whether he was forthcoming about his contacts on that," Schiff said on ABC News's “This Week with George Stephanopoulos." “If these allegations are true and he had discussions with the Russians about establishing a back channel and didn’t reveal that, that would be a real problem in terms of whether he should maintain that kind of security clearance."
The Democratic National Committee began calling for Kushner's clearance to be revoked after the revelations. But Schiff did not go quite that far. He instead called for a review to determine whether Kushner was being truthful when he applied for his clearance to serve in the White House.
“I do think there ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid," Schiff said. “If not, there’s no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance."
Speaking on another Sunday-morning program, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 in the Democratic leadership, declined to comment on whether Kushner should lose his security clearance.
Pressed on the matter, Durbin said the entire issue of the back-channel talks should be handled by the special prosecutor, Robert S. Mueller III, appointed to oversee a federal investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“This is a rumor at this point, and whether it is something that should be followed up on, I'll trust Bob Mueller's judgment," Durbin said on “Fox News Sunday."
The House Intelligence Committee also is investigating Russian interference in the election, and Schiff repeatedly declined to confirm whether the committee had been aware of the allegations against Kushner before The Post's report came out.
But if the report is true, he said, why would Kushner try to keep his communications with the Russians secret?
“You have to ask, well, who are they hiding the conversations from?" Schiff added.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.