Although the Trump administration has certainly been dominated by salacious headlines — their efforts to reshape global policy still rage behind the scenes. Evidence has piled up that at least some of their reshaping efforts have revolved around the personal financial benefit of Jared Kushner and his family.
Just months before almost $1.5 billion was due on a mortgage on the suffering “crown jewel” of the Kushner family real estate empire at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City, a Canadian investment firm backed in large part by the Qatari government dumped a massive amount of cash into the building, signing a 99 year lease and paying most of the rent upfront — and it doesn’t take a financial expert to tell how extraordinary that is.
Suspiciously, in the months prior, Kushner had lashed out against the Qataris through explicit means like an alleged face-to-face meeting in May 2017 at which he tore into their ruling family for turning down a request from his father Charles for a massive investment in the building. At the time, author Vicky Ward claims the Qatari leaders felt like Kushner was “threatening their sovereignty” — and in ensuing months, they may have been proven right, as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched a blockade of the tiny Gulf state that reportedly almost included a joint attempt from the two countries to take over their capital Doha and topple their government. Kushner was among those to support this blockade, having long established a position of foreign policy authority despite his complete lack of experience.
Although then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lashed out and sought to tamper down the plans for a coup, the Trump administration by and large stood with the Saudis despite American reliance on the Qataris for housing one of the most important U.S. bases in the Middle East. Only after the blockade had been in place well into 2018 did the Trump team dump their support — around the same time that Brookfield Asset Management saved the Kushner family business from further ruin. That deal was announced in May 2018, weeks after new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo established his opposition to the blockade.
The Qataris claim that they had nothing to do with the actual usage of their money for the presidential adviser’s benefit, asserting that they simply invested the cash and turned away. Observers like Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman assert their denial of influence over the usage of their money is “implausible,” however. Meanwhile, on numerous other occasions, Kushner’s team has asserted that he has little to nothing to do with the day-to-day operation of his family business since assuming his presidential advisory position, having resigned from his executive role.
The truth of the matter remains elusive. Quite simply, it’s outlandish to suggest that at no point in the investment or Trump foreign policy process did the Kushner family business concerns occur to at least one party involved, if not both sides and all interests. Kushner’s connection to the business didn’t get erased from history.
Kushner currently faces an investigation from House Democrats into his procurement of a security clearance in spite of stated concern from White House officials and the intelligence community, although the Trump team has refused to cooperate with that probe.
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