A US lawmaker has demanded the revocation of the security clearance for President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner for his refusal to disclose numerous contacts with foreign officials.
“Kushner’s security clearance should absolutely be suspended,” said California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu during an interview with national broadcaster MSNBC on Saturday.
The legislator harshly criticized Kushner for failing to unveil numerous contacts he reportedly made with Russian officials in the months leading up to Trump’s inauguration.
The development came after The New York Times reported earlier this month about the omissions from Kushner’s national security questionnaire, including meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, CEO of the Russian state-owned bank Sergey Gorkov, as well as others.
“I have filled out these forms before. They are known as SF86 forms. One of the main reasons that you have this form is to figure out if this person had contacts with foreign officials,” Lieu said in the interview.
The lawmaker further insisted that Kushner made the omissions “intentionally” in light of the persisting scandal regarding contacts of several top Trump administration officials and aids with Russian authorities in months leading into Trump’s presidency.
“Jared Kushner intentionally omitted his various contacts and he knew these contacts were impertinent because of the whole Russia scandal that has been developing. So he lied. And he needs to have his security clearance revoked,” he said.
Kushner’s attorney, however, has reportedly stated that the omissions were erroneously made and that the White House had informed the FBI the day after the submission that Kushner would provide supplemental information to the form.
A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has denounced the pro-Israeli policy adopted by the administration of US President Donald Trump, saying the White House is now inhabited by Israeli settlers.
Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO executive committee member, said on Saturday that Israel’s far-right stance dominates the US government.
“We used to say there were settlers in the Israeli coalition borne of the far right that detests Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. But today we say there are settlers inside the White House,” she said.
Trump’s administration “has adopted the extreme Israeli position to the right of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and which supports the settlements,” she added.
The remarks came amid reports that a delegation of Palestinian Authority officials will visit Washington later this month, in preparation for a meeting between Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“The main goal here is to reach understandings that would make the president’s visit a success and that it will come out with positive results that would serve the Palestinian cause,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said earlier this month.
Trump and Abbas spoke over the phone for the first time in March during which the latter was invited to Washington.
In another development last month, Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy for the Middle East, met with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
During the meeting, the Palestinian president stressed that the Palestinian strategic choice was to achieve the so-called two-state solution. The comments came after Washington signaled that it would no longer insist on the two-state solution as the only option to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tel Aviv has accelerated its land grab and settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands after Trump took office earlier this year.
Israeli forces have demolished over 48,000 Palestinian homes and buildings since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Iran has condemned a deadly Takfiri bomb attack on buses carrying people from two Shia-majority villages in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the condemnation on Saturday while offering his condolences to the Syrian government and nation.
Earlier, at least 40 people were killed in the blast, which hit al-Rashideen district on the western outskirts of Aleppo, located some 355 kilometers north of the capital Damascus, as buses were stopping at a checkpoint.
The buses were evacuating residents of Kefraya and al-Foua villages in accordance with an agreement reached between the Syrian government and foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups last month.
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“The shameful criminal act by Takfiri terrorists in the cowardly attack on buses carrying the people of al-Foua and Kefraya in Syria and killing tens of innocent and defenseless women and children have added to the record of atrocities carried out by terrorists and their supporters,” said Qassemi.
He went on to slam those who claim to be supporters of the Syrian nation but refrain from commenting on such actions.
Qassemi further stressed that dividing militants into “good and bad” by supporters of such groups only serves to embolden terrorists.
Evacuee buses arrive in Aleppo
Later on Saturday, the SANA news agency announced that the final series of buses taking people from the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya have arrived in Aleppo.
Some 15 buses transporting hundreds of civilians arrived in al-Ramousa where they were put up in a fully stocked temporary housing center.
Before that, several ambulances transporting those injured in the earlier attacks arrived in the city.
A total of 75 buses and 20 ambulances had been scheduled to arrive in Aleppo on Friday, but infighting between the terrorists had halted the convoy’s departure.