President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years when he was applying for top-secret security clearance that would allow him to access “the nation’s most closely guarded secrets,” reports The New York Times.
“The omissions, which Mr. Kushner’s lawyer called an error, are particularly sensitive given the congressional and F.B.I. investigations into contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates,” says The Times.
But Kushner failed to mention not one but dozens of contacts with foreign leaders and officials in recent months, including a December meeting with Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, arranged at Kislyak’s behest.
“Knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment,” notes The Times.
When assuming top national security positions, applicants must submit to a vigorous background check and complete a lengthy FBI questionnaire, which is “not just bureaucratic paperwork.”
Kushner is now the second top White House official to have withheld information regarding meetings with foreign officials. Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, first denied any Russian connections, and then was eventually fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the content of phone calls and meetings with Kislyak during the transition. Kushner attended a meeting with Flynn in December.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will be interviewing Kushner about this and much more in the near future.