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Essential Politics: The clash over Jared Kushner's clearance

Essential Politics: The clash over Jared Kushner's clearance
Essential Politics (LAT)

Perhaps no advisor to President Trump has had a more expansive portfolio — relations with China and Mexico, Middle East peace, government innovation — than Jared Kushner, the president's ubiquitous son-in-law.

But can Kushner keep tabs on all of that now that his security clearance has been downgraded?

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TOP SECRET NO MORE

On Tuesday, the news began to get out that the 37-year old has lost access to top-secret documents — perhaps limiting the work he can do on sensitive foreign policy issues.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly declined to confirm the action in Kushner's case. "I will not comment on anybody's specific security clearance situation or go beyond the memo released last week," he said in a statement Tuesday.

IMMIGRATION: RULINGS AND RAIDS

And the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas D. Homan, had some particularly sharp words for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who publicly warned her community of the coming raids.

"The Oakland mayor's decision to publicize her suspicions about ICE operations further increased that risk for my officers and alerted criminal aliens — making clear that this reckless decision was based on her political agenda with the very federal laws that ICE is sworn to uphold," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday strengthened the Trump administration's power to hold immigrants in jail for months or years as they fight deportation, ruling federal law gives these detainees no right to a bail hearing nor a chance to go free.

And in California, another legal victory for the president: a federal judge in San Diego sided with the Department of Homeland Security in its effort to sidestep environmental laws in replacing border fencing. Mind you, this was no ordinary judge but rather the same one Trump once singled out for his "Mexican heritage."

NATIONAL POLITICS LIGHTNING ROUND

-- The White House confirms that Trump hopes to visit Southern California in mid-March to see prototypes of his long-promised border wall and attend a political fundraiser.

-- National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said Tuesday that the United States hasn't done enough to deter Russian meddling in national politics and acknowledged that Trump hasn't directed cybersecurity officials to take more aggressive offensive actions against Moscow.

-- The fractious House Intelligence Committee gathered behind closed doors on Tuesday to interview Hope Hicks, Trump's communications director and one of his closest and longest-serving aides.

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-- The United States' top diplomat handling the Korean peninsula, a 30-year foreign-policy veteran, has abruptly resigned, citing personal reasons.

-- Even as they gird for new battles over the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are laying the groundwork for a new healthcare agenda to open programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to more Americans.

-- In a move to address the nation's deadly opioid crisis, the Justice Department says it will target the prescription drug pipeline with a new focus on companies that manufacture and distribute the drugs.

-- President Trump is naming former digital advisor Brad Parscale as campaign manager of his 2020 reelection effort.

GUN VIOLENCE ACTION STALLS

Less than two weeks after the latest mass shooting had Trump promising action, his proposals have fallen flat among already divided congressional Republicans, leaving their party united on one thing: blocking further restrictions on gun ownership.

House Republican leaders dismissed Trump's signature idea of arming some teachers nationwide, calling that a local matter, while the president has all but shelved his other proposal to set a federal minimum age of 21 for purchasing long guns.

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO…

With nine days left for 2018 candidates to formally file for office in most races, there are two things we know about California's most high-profile contests: There's one fewer GOP candidate for governor, and he's not interested in running for the U.S. Senate.

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Doug Ose, who served six years in the House representing the Sacramento region, dropped out of the governor's race on Monday. That leaves two visible Republicans, Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen and San Diego businessman John Cox, still in the hunt for one of the two slots on the November ballot.

And on Tuesday, Ose clarified that the decision wasn't strategic: He's not running for the U.S. Senate, where the state GOP has no prominent candidate.

Or does it? Far-right radio talk show host Michael Savage said he's considering throwing his hat into the ring.

TODAY'S ESSENTIALS

-- The former employer of Rep. Linda Sanchez's husband, Jim Sullivan, paid $35,000 to settle a 2015 harassment complaint brought against him.

-- Stacey Dash, the actress turned conservative commentator who starred in the 1995 movie "Clueless," took a step on Tuesday to run for Congress against Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro).

-- Some of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's longtime supporters and staff are hoping to remind Californians of the senator's quarter-century of work in Washington with a new super PAC.

-- The sexual harassment controversies that have consumed California politics also made their mark on happenings at last weekend's state Democratic Party convention.

-- Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will headline the launch of a group aimed at reforming the California Republican Party.

-- The Orange County Republican Party put its weight behind Diane Harkey, one of several Republicans running in the 49th Congressional District and Rep. Darrell Issa's choice to replace him.

-- Chelsea Handler moderated a star-studded panel on electing more women to office, and several congressional candidates were there to rub elbows with Hollywood elites at the event, hosted by Emily's List.

-- Sarah Silverman co-hosted a fundraiser Tuesday night at the Hancock Park home of a major film studio executive to support four of the Emily's List endorsed candidates.

LOGISTICS

Essential Politics is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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