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President Donald Trump said Friday that he won't be the one to decide whether his son-in-law Jared Kushner will get a security clearance waiver if he can't soon pass a deep-dive background check on his own. But Vanity Fair says that by issuing a red line, Kelly has pulled off a "political masterstroke" by training more spotlight on the president's ethics, which will endure whether he stays or goes. "General Kelly respects Jared a lot and General Kelly will make that call", Trump said at a news conference. "I will let the general make that call".

In a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump also heaped praise on his daughter Ivanka's husband - who, he noted, takes no salary for his job as a top White House adviser.

After that, the president's chief of staff, John Kelly, moved to strip anyone with an interim clearance of access to highly classified intelligence - a move he plans to enforce beginning on Friday.

CNN reported one week later that more than 100 White House staffers were operating on temporary security clearances as late as November.

Kushner was said to be resisting Kelly's efforts to regulate access to information among aides who lack a full security clearance, but Kelly has insisted that Kushner was not in danger on that front. "He'll continue to do the important work that he's been focused on for the a year ago".

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"It's a broken system", he said.

The Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called the White House earlier this month to inform general counsel Donald McGahn that new, "significant information" related to Kushner needed further investigation.

White House communications director Hope Hicks, whose role in drafting a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower has drawn Mueller's scrutiny, obtained a full Top Secret and sensitive compartmented information, or SCI, security clearances - the highest levels of access - in November or earlier, according to information obtained by CNN from a USA government official.

Kelly's change only applies to clearances for access to the apex of the classification pyramid - top secret and sensitive compartmented information - not to lower-level clearances required to handle secret or confidential information.

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Added Trump: "Jared is truly outstanding".

"Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President's agenda", Kelly said.

It's also not clear whether other White House officials whose actions have been scrutinized by Mueller have been unable to get a decision on their security clearance applications. Two people said the deputy attorney general told McGahn the Justice Department had obtained important new information, suggesting it could be an obstacle to his clearance process.

As someone who meets regularly with foreign officials and reads classified intelligence, Kushner would typically have a fast-tracked background investigation, security-clearance experts said.

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