White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as other White House officials, have had high-level interim security clearances downgraded pending completion of full-scale background checks, government officials said Tuesday.
The downgrade will limit Kushner's ability to view highly classified information, though officials familiar with the move said it will not affect Kushner's ability to do a job that includes diplomatic dealings with other countries.
"Mr. Kushner has done more than what is expected of him in this process," said an associate of Kushner, speaking on condition of anonymity because the security clearance process is classified.
"Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr. Kushner's level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for these clearance reviews to take this long in a new administration, and that the current backlogs are now being addressed," the person said.
The move came as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly seeks to overhaul the security clearance process amid a series of complaints. Two government officials confirmed Kushner;'s re-classification, but would not comment in detail.
Kushner's portfolio ranges from prison reform to Middle East negotiations.
Kelly said he would not comment on anybody's specific security clearance situation, but that Kushner's role in the White House would not be diminished.
"As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico," the chief of staff said.
Questions about security clearances surfaces after this month's resignation of Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who did not have a security clearance because of spousal abuse allegations lodged against him.
There have long been questions about Kushner, given his relationship to Trump. Kushner has had to amend his security clearance questionnaire several times during the past year to include meetings with foreign nationals.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that officials in at least four countries "have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience."
White House officials would not comment on Kushner or others who have had security downgrades, citing the classified nature of the issue.
Last week, President Trump said Kelly would make the decision about his son-in-law's security clearance.
"General Kelly respects Jared a lot," Trump told reporters. "I won't make that call."
Trump could simply grant a waiver for Kushner to receive a high-level security clearance despite the unresolved background investigation.
"He's going to do what’s right for the country, and I have no doubt he’ll make the right decision," he said.