White House senior adviser Jared Kushner can still work even though he's been stripped of his top security clearance if President Donald Trump wants him there, but it's hard to see how he can keep working in high-profile international situations, Sen. Angus King said Thursday.
"Without a top secret clearance, you can't see information supplied by assets or agents," the Maine independent senator told CNN's "New Day" co-host Chris Cuomo of Kushner, who is the president's son-in-law.
"You can't see information supplied by what's called signal intelligence, which is intelligence intercepts abroad, and you can't see intelligence that is supplied by another country. You can't see a lot of material."
If Kushner is continued to be assigned to do things such as working toward a solution to peace in the Middle East, that job can't be done without certain kinds of information, as it's like "negotiating with one hand tied behind your back," said King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"I don't see how he can work in these high-profile international [situations]," said King, who also said he does not know how Kushner can work in negotiations with China.
"I don't know how he can do that without having that clearance," the senator said. "It is virtually impossible, it seems."
Kushner's position as an adviser is not one that needs confirmed by a Senate vote, he continued, and Trump can choose to have the people around him he wants, and to share whatever kind of information he wants.
"The president has the power to unilaterally release any top secret information," said King. "But he would have to do that on a case-by-case basis. Every day he would have to call in and say, okay, 'Jared, here's what I'm going to tell you today.'"
King also talked about the president's plans to announce tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, telling CNN he believes American workers will be more hurt than helped by the measures.
"What are the results going to be?" he said. "The Europeans are already talking about retaliation. This is where ugly things can happen that are unanticipated, when you unleash something like this without sufficient talking to the Defense Department, the State Department, the other countries, the allies. That's what worries me here."
King does believe, however, that there are places in which trade agreements need to be renegotiated.
However, as the matter now stands, it seems as if Trump's call for tariffs sounds more like a trade dispute than it does for national security, he added, and that could bring allies to bring a complaint to the World Trade Organization.
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