All eyes are on Jared Kushner as the fallout from Donald Trump Jr.'s email disclosure continues.
Kushner was the only current White House staffer who was present for a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer, ahead of which Trump Jr. was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton that he claimed was never presented after the meeting began.
On Tuesday, Trump Jr. posted the emails that were sent to himself, Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort setting up that meeting. And now Democrats and Republicans are questioning why Kushner still has a security clearance.
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not tell reporters at Wednesday's off-camera briefing whether Kushner still held that clearance, saying though that "Democrats are trying to play political games" by calling for it to be revoked.
Members of the Kushner family
Members of the Kushner family
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner attend LORD & TAYLOR Launches IVANKA TRUMP's Spring 2012 Collection at Lord & Taylor on March 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on May 23, 2017. Donald Trump arrived in Rome for a high-profile meeting with Pope Francis in what was his first official trip to Europe since becoming US President. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner take part in a bilateral meeting with Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (not seen) in Villa Taverna, the US ambassador's residence, in Rome on May 24, 2017.
After a private audience wit Pope Francis early in the morning Trump's family will fly to Brussels this afternoon for meetings with EU and NATO officials before returning to Italy for the G7 summit in Sicily on May 26-27. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children, depart after her father President Donald Trump formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 1: (L-R) Josh Kushner, Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner attend The New York Observer's New Look Hosted by Jared Kushner and Joseph Meyer at Casa Lever on April 1, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 18: Charles Kushner (C) wades though the media with his legal team and wife to the U.S. District Courthouse August 18, 2004 in Newark, New Jersey. Kushner, a New Jersey developer and a major campaign contributors to Democrats including embattled Gov. Jim McGreevey, is expected to plead guilty to federal charges that he hired a prostitute to try to silence a witness in a federal investigation. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Frank Lautenberg, Bill Clinton, Bruce S. Schonbraun, Charles Kushner (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JUNE 14: (L-R) Charles Collier, Arianna Huffington and Jared Kushner attend AMC Hosts a Special Preview and Discussion of Their Provocative New Series 'MAD MEN' at Michael's on June 14, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Charles E. Garner II, Jared Kushner, Kenneth Caplan, Keith B. Gelb, Jonathan L. Mechanic and Robert G. Stuckey attend Commercial Observer Masters of Real Estate 2013 at The Metropolitan Club on October 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilir Bajraktari/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 3: (L-R) Jared Kushner, Seryl Kushner and Joshua Kushner attend 2014 Library Lions Gala at The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Grassi/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 3: (L-R) Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Seryl Kushner and Joshua Kushner attend 2014 Library Lions Gala at The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Grassi/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump (C) and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (R) listen to the US president delivering a speech during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II, on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 4: (L-R) Josh Kushner, Jared Kushner, Barry Diller and Wendi Murdoch attend FOUNDERS CLUB New York & BARRY DILLER welcome TIM ARMSTRONG & JON MILLER at Roof Garden on June 4, 2008 in New York. (Photo by DAVID X PRUTTING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump walk off Air Force One with their children at Palm Beach International airport as they prepare to spend part of the weekend together with her father President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. President Trump is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and are scheduled to get in a game of golf as well as discuss trade issues. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: (L-R) Josh Raffel, Jared Kushner and Matthew Hiltzik attend The New York Observer 25th Anniversary at Four Seasons Restaurant on March 14, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 1: (L-R) Anthony Marx, Jared Kushner, Joseph Meyer and Josh Kushner attend The New York Observer's New Look Hosted by Jared Kushner and Joseph Meyer at Casa Lever on April 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump, and their children walk off Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida as they arrive to spend the weekend at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 with Japanese Peime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 30: (L-R) Josh Kushner, Wendi Murdoch, Dasha Zhukova and Jonathan Yeo attend the Louis Vuitton Art.sy Beachside Barbecue, hosted by Carter Cleveland, Wendi Murdoch and Dasha Zhukova at Soho Beach House Miami on November 30, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for ART.sy)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner looks on during a meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam in the Cabinet Room of the White House, on May 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to US President arrives with the delegation of President of United States of America Donald Trump and Wife Melania Trump for a meeting with Pope Francis, on May 22, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by (Photo by Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend an audience with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. The President Trump will return on Italy on Friday attending the Group of 7 Summit in Sicily. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: (L-R) Charles Kushner, Seryl Kushner and Jared Kushner attend Commercial Observer Presents: Wired City: The Future of The NYC Tenant at 666 5th Avenue on November 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilir Bajraktari/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner attend the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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It's not the first time Kushner's security clearance has come under question.
Kushner had to revise his security clearance form after he failed to disclose meetings with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and a Russian banker, which in turn led to The New York Times finding out about the Trump Tower meeting involving Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Additionally, the House and Senate intelligence committees and Department of Justice investigators are now looking into whether the Kushner-led Trump campaign digital operation assisted Russia's attacks on Clinton during the 2016 election cycle.
Although Veselnitskaya told NBC News that Kushner "left the meeting after seven to 10 minutes of the 20- to 30-minute meeting," these incidents — with the Trump Jr. meeting now at center stage — have led to calls for Kushner to be stripped of the clearance.
Trump Jr.'s "preemptive release of the emails that led to the meeting with the Russian operative puts Jared Kushner in legal peril," Rick Tyler, communications director for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign and now an MSNBC contributor, told Business Insider in an email. "He has consistently failed to make mandatory discloses of meetings with foreign nationals including this one which is a felony."
"Jared should, at a minimum, have his clearances rescinded making his utility as an advisor, which itself is suspect, impractical," he continued.
The email disclosure revealed that Kushner was copied on Trump Jr.'s email chain with Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist who represented a Russian pop star with ties to President Donald Trump and was tasked with arranging the June meeting. That email chain was titled "Russia — Clinton — private and confidential" and noted that a Russian official had "offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to" Trump.
Goldstone described the information as being "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," something that prompted Trump Jr. to respond, "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."
The fact that Kushner had the email chain available to him seemed to contradict an earlier statement from Trump Jr., who said over the weekend that Kushner and Manafort were told "nothing of the substance" of the meeting when he asked them to attend.
"Mr. Kushner's decision to take this meeting raises significant questions about his judgment and his respect for the very principles that our democracy was founded on — that our elections should be sacred and free of interference from a foreign adversary," Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, told Business Insider in an email.
"His reported failure to disclose this meeting — and numerous others with Russians — when he submitted his security clearance application compounds the problem and is deeply concerning."
Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, sent a letter to Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort on Tuesday requesting all of the trio's documents and communications related to the June meeting with Veselnitskaya, contacts with Russians during the campaign and transition, and Kushner's security clearance application and reporting of foreign contacts, travel, and meetings. That followed a letter last month from the Democratic members of the committee to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus requesting documents related to the decision to allow Kushner to keep his clearance after it became public knowledge that he failed to disclose the meetings with Russian officials.
"If the White House was following its own rules regarding security clearances, it would have already suspended Mr. Kushner's clearance pending a full investigation," Cummings told Business Insider, additionally calling for House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, to seek answers from the Trump team.
Still, some feel that Kushner's presence at the meeting will not imperil his status or set him back in any way at the White House.
"I don't believe it will have any effect on his role," famed attorney and Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Business Insider in an email.
"Whether we believe Trump's Jr.'s claim that Kushner did not know the meeting's purpose beforehand is immaterial," Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia said in a statement. "The fact that Jared Kushner initially omitted this meeting from his [security clearance form], and only disclosed it after coming under considerable scrutiny, implies that he knew something untoward had happened."
"Kushner should not be permitted access to classified material, he should not be empowered to conduct official business on behalf of the American people, and he should not be allowed to continue in any capacity as a counselor to the president," Beyer later added. "He has irrevocably betrayed the public trust. Jared Kushner must resign. If he will not, he should be fired."