In recent months, the profile of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has precipitously dropped. At one point, he was perhaps the closest advisor to the president, with a broad portfolio of responsibilities. However, mounting dissatisfaction from Trump, heightened worries about Kushner’s vulnerabilities in the Russia probe, and a Chief of Staff with his sights set on Kushner in John Kelly have all steadily eroded the power that Kushner has.
In fact, just last month there was speculation that Kushner and Ivanka would be pushed out of the White House by 2018, primarily by Chief of Staff John Kelly. A simmering feud between the two has continued for months. A new report in The Washington Post this weekend revealed that, despite the pressure on Kushner and Ivanka Trump to leave Washington, D.C., they plan to stay. In fact, they plan buy a house. You can read more below:
‘When Kushner’s family first arrived in Washington, they agreed they would assess after six months whether they intended to stay. Trump himself has mused privately about the hit his daughter and son-in-law’s reputation is taking because of their White House roles and about what a great and easy life they had back in New York. Others have questioned why someone like Kushner would put himself in Mueller’s crosshairs by remaining in government.
‘But when the couple reassessed in July, they reached a decision. “We’re here to stay,” Kushner said. “At the current moment, we’re charging forward.”
‘He added, “My wife asked me the other day if we should be looking at new houses, so that’s a good sign.”’
Just last month, Vanity Fair published an in-depth report on the status of the feud between Kushner and Kelly.
‘As Kushner’s Russia troubles mount—last Friday the Senate disclosed that he had not turned over e-mails about WikiLeaks, a claim his attorney, Abbe Lowell, denied—insiders are again speculating, as my colleague Emily Jane Fox reported last month, about how long Kushner and Ivanka Trump will remain in Washington. Despite Kushner’s efforts to project confidence about Robert Mueller’s probe, he expressed worry after the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates about how far the investigation could go. “Do you think they’ll get the president?” Kushner asked a friend, according to a person briefed on the conversation.
‘According to two Republicans who have spoken with Trump, the president has also been frustrated with Kushner’s political advice, including his encouragement to back losing Alabama G.O.P. candidate Luther Strange and to fire F.B.I. Director James Comey, which Kushner denies. (For what it’s worth, Kushner’s choice of Strange prevented Trump from the embarrassment of inadvertently supporting Roy Moore.) Trump, according to three people who’ve spoken to him, has advocated for Jared and Ivanka to return to New York in part because they are being damaged by negative press. “He keeps pressuring them to go,” one source close to Kushner told me. But as bad as the Russia investigation may be, it’s not clear a New York homecoming would be much better for Kushner, given that his family’s debt-ridden office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue could be headed for bankruptcy.’
That follows reporting by POLITICO months earlier about the battle between Kushner and Kelly over Kushner’s White House role:
‘Now, as Kelly instills a formal organizational chart on top of Trump’s formerly chaotic West Wing, he is still navigating the X-factor of Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s inchoate roles as family members-turned-staffers.
‘It’s not just Kelly who is uncertain of how to make the arrangement work. In recent months, according to multiple administration officials, the president has also been casually surveying people close to him about whether having his family members in the government is creating too much noise.
‘“Baby, you’re getting killed, this is a bad deal,” Trump has told Ivanka Trump, in front of other staffers, after soaking in the criticisms of the role his daughter is playing.’
Despite the refusal of Trump’s family members to abandon their unearned posts, Kelly’s attempts to restrict access to the president have been largely successful. Kushner has largely been limited to solving peace in the Middle East, limiting the damage that can be done through his unqualified opinion-driven moves. He’s been able to accomplish virtually nothing. The Washington Post reports,
‘Some aides scoff at the notion that Kushner isn’t still whispering to the president about official business. But one of Kelly’s conditions for taking the job was that everyone, including Kushner and his wife, had to go through him to reach the president, and Kelly has made clear that Kushner reports to him, aides said.
‘He still maintains the broad portfolio he took on at the beginning of the administration that made him a punchline among aides on Capitol Hill: peace in the Middle East; matters regarding Canada, Mexico and China; and the Office of American Innovation, an in-house group that focuses on tackling longer-term government challenges.
‘He attends meetings of his innovation group once a week, often on a Tuesday or Wednesday for an hour-long check-in and progress update. The innovation office launched with great fanfare in March, but some aides recently said they could not pinpoint exactly what it has accomplished.’
There’s only so much that can be done when a man like Donald Trump is in charge. Trump values “loyalty” over competence, and brown-nosing over experience. Thus, he’ll hire friends before those who are qualified, and surrounds himself with family at the highest levels of power. He has no concept of what America stands for or what our values are. He doesn’t understand the core tenets of a democratic society.
Mueller’s probe can’t go fast enough. For more information on all the trouble Kushner is probably in, watch below:
Even Kushner has expressed worry that Mueller might “get” Trump. Howard Dean seems pretty confident that Kushner will go down for money laundering, and that doesn’t seem too unlikely, considering his shady business connections and Mueller’s steps so far. Here’s more:
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images