President Trump: Chief of staff John Kelly to settle Jared Kushner security dispute

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Friday he will leave it to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to settle a security clearance dispute involving son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner, but left little doubt he wants the case settled in a way that allows Kushner to keep his job.

Problems with security clearance for White House aides surfaced this month in fallout over the abrupt resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter over allegations of domestic abuse against two former wives.

Kushner is one of dozens of aides operating under an interim clearance, not yet fully cleared due to complications in their backgrounds. In the case of Kushner, a wealthy New York businessman, his financial links have taken a long time to examine.

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(FromL) Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump smile as Republican presidential elect Donald Trump speaks during election night at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016. Trump stunned America and the world Wednesday, riding a wave of populist resentment to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner are seen walking in Midtown on January 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
Ivanka Trump (L) and husband Jared Kushner are seen at a polling station in a school during the 2016 presidential elections on November 8, 2016 in New York. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President-elect Donald Trump, walks through the lobby of Trump Tower with his wife Ivanka on November 18, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump seen at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Team GT/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend the 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are seen on April 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Team GT/GC Images)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attends the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational Auction & Dinner at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair Party held at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 14, 2015 in New York City. PHOTOGRAPH BY Photo Image Press / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Photo Image Press / Barcroft Med via Getty Images)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attends the 8th Annual Eric Trump Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are seen on February 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by XPX/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the New York City Ballet 2014 Fall Gala at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend the Joan Rivers memorial service at Temple Emanu-El on September 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are seen on the streets of New York�on September 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the Costume Institute Gala for the 'PUNK: Chaos to Couture' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Karwai Tang/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend the 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the Turkish Society Annual Dinner Gala at The Plaza Hotel on October 18, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 'Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner attending the 98th Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend Ivanka Trump's Fine Jewelry Boutique opening at on December 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the Vanity Fair Party during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 8th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at the Skylight SOHO on November 14, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 2011 New Yorkers for Children Fall Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on September 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Binn/WireImage)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attends the 5th annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 13, 2011 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 13: Ivanka Trump (R) and Jared Kushner attend the Cinema Society with Ivanka Trump Jewelry & Diane Von Furstenberg screening of 'Snow Flower And The Secret Fan' at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on July 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Ivanka Trump (R) and husband Jared Kushner attend the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City.
Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend the 2010 Library Lions Benefit at The New York Public Library on November 1, 2010 in New York City.
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner attend the 4th annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 14, 2010 in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
NEW YORK - JUNE 27: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend the 3rd annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Governors Island on June 27, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MAY 03: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2010 Costume Institute Ball at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 3, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/WireImage for Vogue)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04: Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner attend Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
BEDMINSTER, NJ - OCTOBER, 25: In this handout image provided by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump (R) and Jared Kushner (L) attend their wedding at Trump National Golf Club on October 25, 2009 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo Brian Marcus/Fred Marcus Photography via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 13: vanka Trump (in Elie Saab and Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry) and Jared Kushner attend The Young Fellows of The Frick Collection, with ELIE SAAB and IVANKA TRUMP Fine Jewelry present a gala 'Un Ballo in Maschera' at The Frick Collection on March 13, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by DAVID X PRUTTING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - AUGUST 23: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend Men's Vogue Dinner in Honor of Roger Federer at Wakiya on August 23, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 11: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend NEW YORK CITY POLICE FOUNDATION 30th Annual Gala at Waldorf Astoria on March 11, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by NEIL RASMUS/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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Kelly a week ago set Friday as the deadline for adjudicating the cases of Kushner and others in clearance limbo. A source familiar with the matter said earlier this week that the situation had caused tensions between Kushner and Kelly.

Trump, at a joint news conference with visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said "General Kelly respects Jared a lot and General Kelly will make that call" on how to resolve the issue.

With Kelly seated nearby, Trump said: "I have no doubt he will make the right decision."

Trump heaped praise on Kushner, a leader in the administration's attempts to resurrect moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He noted that Kushner does not receive a salary.

White House officials have been trying to smooth over the dispute in a way that would allow Kushner to continue his work, the source familiar with the matter said.

The source said there were frustrations on both sides between Kushner and Kelly and they wanted to find a solution.

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NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner attend Quest and Q Magazines Host Ivanka Trump Book Party at Trump Tower on October 14, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the COMEDY CENTRAL Roast of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: (L-R) Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Bonnie Brooks and Ivana Trump 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 9: Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Jared Kushner attend YUE MAGAZINE Gala Launch Party Hosted by JARED KUSHNER & CHIU-TI JANSEN at the Atrium at Trump Towers on May 09, 2012 in New York City (Photo by- MIREYA ACIERTO/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 8: Donald Trump and Jared Kushner attend the The New York Observer- Masters of Real Estate at The Metropolitan Club on November 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: (L-R) Donald Trump, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Jared Kushner 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) Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Lara Spencer and David Haffenreffer 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)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Eric Trump, Lara Yunaska Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally at Concord High School with his daughter Ivanka Trump, and son in law Jared Kushner in Concord, NH on January 18, 2016. (Photo by Rick Friedman/rickfriedman.com/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16: (L to R) Newly selected vice presidential running mate Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and Vanessa Trump stand on stage at the end of an event at the Hilton Midtown Hotel, July 16, 2016 in New York City. On Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he chose Pence to be his running mate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
American real estate developer and presidential candidate Donald Trump (center) greets family members on stage during the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016. Pictured are, from left, daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, Trump, his wife, Melania, and son, Barron. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 12: GOP nominee Donald Trump, points to the crowd after accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday July 21, 2016. Behind Trump from left are daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, daughter in law Vanessa Trump, and son Donald Trump, Jr. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (C) is joined on stage by his family (L-R) Lara Yunaska, Eric Trump, Vannessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump during a campaign rally at the SNHU Arena November 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. With less than 24 hours until Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: President-elect Donald Trump embraces son in law Jared Kushner (R), as his daughter Ivanka Trump, (L), stands nearby, after his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 1: President-elect Donald Trump and Jared Kushner take a tour of Carrier Corporation in Indianapolis, IN on Thursday, Dec. 01, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, as he is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family while he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. From left are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner after the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn (L) and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (R) listen to U.S. President Donald Trump deliver opening remarks during a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Business leaders included Elon Musk of SpaceX, Mark Sutton of International Paper, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical, Mario Longhi of US Steel, Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Wendell Weeks of Corning, Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Michael Dell of Dell Technologies and others. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (L) and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (R) listen while US President Donald Trump puts his papers away at the beginning of a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: The name place card for White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, sits on the table before a meeting about cyber security in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Citing the hack of computers at the Democratic National Committee by Russia, Trump said that the private and public sectors must do more to prevent and protect against cyber attacks. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Trump, listens to President Trump during a listening session with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 3: President Donald Trump talks with IBM CEO Ginny Rometty, left, and adviser Jared Kushner before speaking to business leaders during a strategy and policy forum in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Friday, Feb. 03, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump arrives alongside Vice President Mike Pence (C) and White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (R) during a meeting with manufacturing CEOs in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2017. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 15: U.S. President Donald Trump waves while walking to a waiting Marine One helicopter with son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner while departing the White House on March 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to travel to Michigan and Tennessee today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (3rdL), White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (4thL), US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (2ndL) and Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (hidden) take part in a bilateral meeting 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)
US President Donald Trump (R) and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) listen to Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) during an American Technology Council roundtable at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump has the option of simply granting a security clearance to Kushner but officials wanted to avoid that option. There was no sense that Kushner would be leaving his job.

Options included giving Kushner a lesser clearance that would allow him to keep doing his job. Kelly said in a statement on Thursday that he would not comment one anyone's specific security clearance situation.

"As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico. Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the President’s agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise," Kelly said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and David Gregorio)

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