By Newsweek |
Donald Trump Getting Ivanka, Jared Kushner Security Clearances is Like Parents Bribing College Admissions: Obama Ethics Chief
An ethics chief under former President Barack Obama on Thursday compared the college admissions scandal to President Donald Trump reportedly pressuring White House officials to grant security clearances to his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“Quite the parallel between members of the decadent golf set cheating to get their kids into college and a decadent golf setter cheating to get his daughter and son-in-law clearances after committing nepotism to get them civil service jobs,” tweeted Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics. “Except for the national security risks.”
The Washington Post reported last month that the president pressured then-chief of staff John Kelly to grant top-secret security clearances to Ivanka Trump and Kushner, both senior White House advisers, against the advice of career intelligence officials,
Shaub linked that controversy to the biggest college admissions bribery case ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice. On Tuesday, 50 people were charged in the case, including top financiers, CEOs, college sports coaches and actors. The scandal resurfaced scrutiny over Kushner’s acceptance into Harvard University, given reports he was admitted shortly after his father pledged $2.5 million to the Ivy League school.
A spokeswoman for Kushner’s family real estate business Kushner Companies in 2016 denied the donation was linked to Kushner’s acceptance, saying he was “an excellent student” and his parents "are enormously generous and have donated over 100 million dollars to universities, hospitals and other charitable causes.”
The watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which Shaub serves as a senior adviser for, on Thursday rebuked “nepotism” within the Trump administration.
“Nepotism displayed in the privileges given to President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner constitutes a national security issue,” CREW tweeted, and linked to a Newsweek story quoting its executive director Noah Bookbinder.
Bookbinder, a former federal corruption prosecutor, criticized Ivanka Trump and Kushner in light of a New York Times story on the forthcoming book Kushner Inc. alleging that the president ordered Kelly “to get rid of” them because they were drawing bad press.
“White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner show why nepotism laws exist: This is not only an ethics [issue] but a national security issue,” Bookbinder tweeted on Tuesday. “They have received special treatment, including security clearance, and apparently can’t be fired.”
When the president was asked by a reporter in the Oval Office Thursday if he intervened in his daughter and son-in-law’s security clearances, he said, "Thank you very much," and ended the presser.
Shaub frequently takes to Twitter to question the ethics of the president and his family and administration.
President-elect Donald Trump embraces son in law Jared Kushner (R), as his daughter Ivanka Trump, (L), stands nearby, after his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016, in New York City. An ethics chief under ex-President Barack Obama compared Trump's reported hand in granting his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner security clearances, to a college admissions scandal. Mark Wilson/Getty Images