Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau: Author News
Juliette Kayyem: Jared Kushner Should Lose His Security Clearance

JulietteKayyem

Jun 02, 2017

Jared Kushner attempted to establish back channel communication with the Russian government during the presidential transition, according to a report released by The Washington Post.

Kushner’s deepening connections to Russia have continued to fan flames of suspicion surrounding the Trump team’s ties to the Kremlin, and national security expert Juliette Kayyem says Kushner should face consequences, regardless of his intent.

“[Kushner] is a representative of us, and just take a step back from what he did. He has more confidence in Russia’s covert operations than he does in the United States,” she said. “He really should have his security clearance pulled for that.”

Kushner met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in March to ask about using Russian communication channels to communicate, avoiding surveillance by American intelligence offices.

Kayyem went on to explain how Kushner’s request for back channel communications with the Russians is not like ones established by the U.S. in the past.

She referenced a back channel established through the Pope to Cuba, saying the difference between this and Kushner’s request is the fact that he was asking to use Russian communication channels that would be shielded from monitoring by the United States.

“He had a covert channel attempting to utilize the Russian apparatus because either ... he’s an idiot, he’s naive, he needs to hide something, he’s acting unlawfully, he doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing — I don’t know what the answer is,” she said. “I don’t care anymore.”

Kayyem also discussed the process of getting security clearance, which involves sitting down with a lawyer or scheduler to disclose previous travels and meetings with foreign officials. She said it’s unlikely Kushner would have simply forgotten to disclose his meeting with Kislyak.

“These meetings were two weeks before he filled out the forms,” she said. “The idea that he forgot, I think you cannot buy at face value at this stage.”

Kayyem said it is standard practice for people in Kushner’s situation to lose security clearance, not just because of lying on a form, but also because of the possibility of “getting dealings or money” from another country.

“If it was found out that you did have relations or you were getting a contract, you would have your security clearance taken,” said Kayyem.

She said she’s not buying the excuse that Kushner is “naive and young.”

“First of all, he’s not young,” she said. “He’s two years younger than the president of France.”

Kayyem still won’t rule out collusion, but she says there’s a more likely explanation for Kushner’s Russia ties.

“The collusion part may exist, but I think this is all about funny money,” she said. “I think it’s about money.”

Hear Full Interview here