US President Donald Trump pressured two White House officials to grant his daughter and son-in-law, who are both senior White House advisers, a security clearance, but both officials refused to do so, according to US media reports.
Trump pushed then White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Donald McGahn, his White House Counsel at the time, to grant the security clearances to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, her husband, following concerns raised by the White House Personnel Office, CNN reported Tuesday.
Both men refused to grant the security clearances to the couple, and ultimately Trump awarded them to the pair himself, according to CNN, which cited three sources.
The New York Times reported last week that Trump ordered his former chief of staff in May to grant Kushner a top-secret security clearance.
Senior administration officials were troubled by the decision, and Kelly wrote an internal memo about the order, the newspaper said.
The latest revelation contradicts Ivanka Trump’s denial to ABC News three weeks ago, when she said her father had “no involvement” in granting her or Kushner’s clearances.
While presidents have the legal authority to grant security clearances, most instances are left up to the White House personnel security office, which determines whether a staffer should be granted one after the FBI has conducted a background check.
The couple reportedly told associates they believed Kelly was blocking them from getting clearances because he did not feel like they belonged in the West Wing.
Trump has faced a furious backlash from political opponents and ethics experts for placing his children in positions of power despite their lack of experience in government.
Ivanka Trump worked for her billionaire-father’s company before Trump was elected president and is now an unpaid White House adviser.