Reacting to a new report that President Trump pressured his then-chief of staff and then-White House counsel to give his daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance despite recommendations against it, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper wondered out loud Tuesday night why Ivanka’s in the White House in the first place.
CNN reported on Tuesday evening that the president pushed both Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn to approve the clearances for both Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Both of the men refused to issue them, citing concerns that were raised by the White House personnel office. So Trump reportedly issued the clearances himself.
Speaking to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman—who first reported on Kushner’s clearance issues—Cooper asked Haberman if it was possible Ivanka didn’t know about the security clearance issues when she told ABC News last month that her father had “no involvement” in clearing her or Kushner.
“It is possible, but it is not likely,” Haberman replied.
Cooper then brought up other reporting by CNN about Ivanka’s security clearance, noting that the president’s daughter apparently wanted a high-level clearance so she could study briefing books when she made international trips.
“Why is she in the White House?” Cooper earnestly asked. “What does she actually do?!?”
The Times reporter said that it was a “great question” why Ivanka would want a clearance for foreign trips.
“The way it was described to me by people who were around at the time was that Jared Kushner sat in on one briefing early on, during the transition. And he enjoyed it, he liked being a part of it, and wanted more. I think that there is an addictive quality to having access to this kind of information. What exactly Ivanka Trump needs to do with that information is unclear.”