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Watchdog rejects senators' request to probe security clearances of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

The inspector general of the intelligence community notified four top Senate Democrats on Wednesday that he cannot launch an investigation into how the White House handled security clearances for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as only President Trump can make such a request.

In his letter, obtained by NBC News, Michael Atkinson told Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) that the "authority over access to classified information ultimately rests with the president of the United States. It is well-established that the president of the United States has broad latitude concerning the process through which security clearances are granted, transferred, or revoked, as well as broad flexibility in determining whom to choose as his advisers and to what extent those advisers may gain access to information, including national security information."

The senators quickly fired off a letter to Trump, asking him to request the investigation, as "public reporting has raised serious concerns about irregularities and questionable decisions related to eligibility determinations for [White House] personnel access to classified information."

Multiple outlets have reported that Kushner's security clearance application was rejected by specialists in the White House's personnel security office and intelligence officials, over concerns raised by his background check, but they were overruled. He's not the only one who has top-secret clearance and shouldn't, a whistleblower told the House Oversight Committee earlier this year; she testified that despite warnings about criminal conduct, foreign ties, and drug use, 25 people received clearances or access to national security information over the previous year.