Jared Kushner influential in Donald Trump transition team firings

Jared Kushner, left, the son-in-law of Donald Trump, is seen as being a key influence in Trump's presidential transition team who orchestrated the recent dismissal of Trump's allies. Trump has denied reports he requested his children to receive top-secret security clearance, but it is unclear if Kushner is included in that comment. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) — Jared Kushner, Donald Trump‘s son-in-law, has been the driving force behind recent dismissals within the president-elect’s transition team, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has been by the businessman’s side at Trump Tower in New York City since the election a little over one week ago.

NBC News reported Trump received his first presidential daily briefing on Tuesday and designated Kushner and Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn as his staff-level companions who will join him for the briefings in the future.

That designation requires security clearance. Flynn has the necessary security clearance, but it could take Kushner weeks or months to receive the access.

Early Wednesday, though, Trump denied reports he requested that his children receive top-level security clearance. It’s unclear if that includes Kushner.

“I am not trying to get ‘top level security clearance’ for my children. This was a typically false news story,” he wrote.

The New York Times reported that after Trump won the presidency, Kushner orchestrated a purge within Trump’s team. Initially, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie was fired from his position as chief of the transition team — being replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

On Monday, Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a former House Intelligence Committee chairman regarded as a respected voice on matters of national security, was asked to leave Trump’s transition team. Rogers announced his departure from the team on Tuesday.

Another Trump security adviser, Matthew Freedman, a lobbyist and consultant for companies and foreign governments, was also fired this week.

A transition official told The New York Times that Kushner was systematically dismissing people like Rogers who had ties with Christie. In 2004 as a prosecutor, Christie prosecuted Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, for tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign contributions. Kushner’s father agreed to a plea and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Transition aides told Bloomberg Politics a Kushner grudge is not the reason for the purge of Christie’s allies.

CNN reported Kushner is at the center of the “infighting” inside the transition team but that any apparent “purge” is focused on only removing lobbyists from Trump’s team.

Despite the reported troubles, Trump took to Twitter to downplay any issues within the transition.

“Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!” Trump wrote.


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