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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Security Risk Administration, Continued

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's record of ethical laxity and carelessness about state secrets. The update -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

The senior White House official whose security clearance was denied last year because of concerns about foreign influence, private business interests and personal conduct is presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, according to people familiar with documents and testimony provided to the House Oversight Committee.

Kushner was identified only as “Senior White House Official 1” in committee documents released this week describing the testimony of Tricia Newbold, a whistleblower in the White House’s personnel security office who said she and another career employee determined that Kushner had too many “significant disqualifying factors” to receive a clearance. ...
Newbold told the House Oversight Committee that Kushner’s background investigation raised concerns about foreign influence, outside business interests and personal conduct, according to a document released by the committee.

On Wednesday, three top Senate Democrats asked FBI Director Christopher A. Wray to investigate whether foreign spies could exploit weaknesses at Mar-a-Lago to steal classified information. Zhang’s arrest “raises very serious questions regarding security vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago, which foreign intelligence services have reportedly targeted,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee; and Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
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“The president has no idea who most of the people around him at the club are,” said another White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. “You pay and you get in.”