Two things stand out about the Kushner family business empire. First, that the recent purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue put the company deep in the hole with few ways out. And second, that historically speaking, the Kushners have not cared too much about breaking the law when they see the need.
Last July, Trump said that if Robert Mueller’s investigation looks at his personal or family finances, that would be a “red line,” as the investigation is about Russia, and his finances have nothing to do with Russia. At least, that’s Trump’s logic. The reality is that the finances of those on the campaign, and especially Trump’s family, are extremely relevant to the investigation. If someone has been compromised via debt, blackmail, or business deals, that would be extremely relevant.
Today, news broke that might give some clue as to why Trump was so worried. According to reports, Mueller is taking a long, hard look at Jared Kushner’s money—and it doesn’t look good. Apparently, Kushner may have been using his status during the transition to solicit investment cash from foreign nationals. From CNN:
‘Special counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in Jared Kushner has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
‘This is the first indication that Mueller is exploring Kushner’s discussions with potential non-Russian foreign investors, including in China.
‘Mueller’s investigators have been asking questions, including during interviews in January and February, about Kushner’s conversations during the transition to shore up financing for 666 Fifth Avenue, a Kushner Companies-backed New York City office building reeling from financial troubles, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation.’
Basically, during the transition period, Kushner met with quite a few potential investors for his building, including representatives from China and Qatar. If he used his power in an attempt to get money, even if unsuccessful, that would be criminal behavior. If that, in turn, is easily documentable and provable in court, Mueller can bring criminal charges to pressure Kushner into revealing more information.
As CNN points out, Michael Flynn was at some of the meetings Kushner took with foreign nationals during the transition period. Michael Flynn has already been flipped and turned into a cooperative witness, so if Mueller is now focusing on Kushner, that could indicate that Mueller has been given a reason to look at Kushner:
‘Last fall, Kushner turned over documents pertaining to the campaign and transition to both Mueller and congressional investigators, sources told CNN in November. Kushner spoke to investigators in November for less than two hours, and the dominant topic was Michael Flynn, according to two people familiar with the meeting who spoke to CNN at the time.
‘Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the investigation, attended some of Kushner’s meetings with foreign nationals. Under his plea deal, Flynn is obligated to tell Mueller’s investigators everything he knows about these meetings.’
There was speculation months ago that after Flynn flipped, the focus would be Kushner:
It’ll be interesting to see the Twitter tantrum Trump throws after Jared gets indicted.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 19, 2018
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images