Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner may be out the door soon as his relations with other countries become even more problematic. Kushner and his wife are already in financial crisis after accumulating millions of dollars in debt in 2017, and he may also be one of the worst real estate investors ever.
On Tuesday, according to The Washington Post:
‘Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.’
Then nations specifically discussing how to influence Kushner to their advantage are the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel, and Mexico. The Post reported:
‘…Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.’
Last week, Kushner’s security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to secret level, meaning he would no longer have the same access he has had to highly classified information.
According to The Post:
‘H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. The issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perceptions of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings, according to the current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.’
Even from the beginning, the White House saw Kushner’s lack of government experience and his business debt as potential points of leverage that foreign governments could use to influence him. Not only that, but these contacts could have legal implications.
Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has been investigating Kushner’s foreign contacts as well. The Post reported:
‘Officials in the White House were concerned that Kushner was “naive and being tricked” in conversations with foreign officials, some of whom said they wanted to deal only with Kushner directly and not more experienced personnel, said one former White House official.’
What has been problematic is that for a senior White House aide, his combination of business arrangements and foreign entanglements is strangely complicated. Kushner needs top security clearance to perform the jobs that Trump hands down to him which include negotiating foreign trade deals and overseeing the Middle East peace process. However, his behavior while in office and the fact he has been stripped of some of his security clearance, heightens concerns.
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner’s lawyer, said:
‘We will not respond substantively to unnamed sources peddling second-hand hearsay with rank speculation that continue to leak inaccurate information.’
White House security adviser H.R. McMaster was a bit shocked when he learned of some of Kushner’s foreign contacts. One official said:
‘When he learned about it, it surprised him. He thought that was weird. . . . It was an unusual thing. I don’t know that any White House has done it this way before.’
According to this official, McMaster: ‘
‘(was) not concerned but wanted an explanation. It seemed unusual to him.’
Council spokesman, Michael Anton, spoke about the relationship between Kushner and McMaster, saying:
‘General McMaster has the highest regard for Mr. Kushner, and the two work well together. Everything they do is integrated . . . it’s seamless.’
It is not out of the ordinary for foreign governments to discuss ways they can influence senior officials in all administrations though. One person familiar with intelligence intercepts of foreign officials said:
‘Every country will seek to find their point of leverage.’
Still, all of this has the White House becoming even more skeptical of Kushner in recent days. He is on a slippery slope.
Featured image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images