Jared Kushner granted permanent security clearance

(AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been granted a permanent security clearance following a lengthy FBI background check, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

The move ensures that Kushner, a key White House adviser with a portfolio touching on international affairs, can hold access to some of the country's most closely held secrets. The person who spoke about Kushner's security clearance insisted on anonymity to discuss the process.

"With respect to the news about his permanent security clearance, as we stated before, his application was properly submitted, reviewed by career officials, and went through the normal process," Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement. "Having completed these processes, Mr. Kushner is looking forward to continuing the work the President has asked him to do."

In addition, Lowell said that Kushner had been interviewed a second time by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"In each occasion, he answered all questions asked and did whatever he could to expedite the conclusion of all the investigation," Lowell said.

The first interview occurred last fall and the questions were limited to former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who subsequently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and began cooperating with Mueller.

It was not immediately clear when the second interview took place or what was asked, though Kushner played a role in several episodes being examined by Mueller.

He was with Trump in New Jersey the weekend before former FBI Director James Comey was fired, and he was among the attendees at a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer at which the president's oldest son was promised negative information about Hillary Clinton.

He was also alluded to, though not by name, in Flynn's guilty plea as a transition team official who encouraged Flynn to contact foreign government officials, about a U.N. Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements.

FBI background checks for security clearances routinely examine an applicant's financial holdings and foreign contacts. Lowell has previously said that he expected the process to be lengthy given the extent of Kushner's wealth, travel and meetings with foreign representatives.

Kushner was one of many White House officials who had been operating for months on interim clearances.

As the application process was pending, Kushner's access was downgraded in February when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly ordered that officials with interim clearances be cut off if they hadn't received permanent clearances. That meant Kushner was able to see information only at the lower "secret" level, but not highly classified information.

Kushner serves as a senior adviser on the Middle East and other issues. He is married to Ivanka Trump, the president's oldest daughter.