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Jared Kushner Called Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States [Public domain]
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States [Public domain]

“If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets.”

On March 28, 2019, the Senate Intelligence Committee called President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner for a closed-door meeting. It was Kushner’s second meeting in front of the panel, having previously testified about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign in July, 2017.

Kushner has faced intense media scrutiny since his nomination, as the 38-year-old real estate developer and investor held no prior foreign policy experience at the time President Trump designated him as the administration’s Middle East emissary. His failure to disclose numerous encounters with Russians he made during Trump’s campaign, such as Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and banker Sergei Gorkov, fueled suspicions of collusion that have plagued his tenure.

It is unknown what was discussed in Kushner’s most recent meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee, but he later expressed hope the Mueller probe’s conclusion would put an end to the suspicions. After his meeting with the Congressional Committee, Kushner gave Axios a statement:

“Today I voluntarily answered follow up questions with the Senate Committee on Intelligence to help them complete their investigation. Which they said would be soon. I hope my cooperation will help the country get the transparency it deserves and puts an end to these baseless accusations. It is time for Congress to complete its work, move on, and to turn its attention to the real problems facing Americans every day.”

Jared Kushner’s Access to Government Intel Raises Alarm

Intelligence and White House officials have expressed concern about granting Kushner access to government secrets in lieu of his failure to disclose his meetings with foreign contacts in his clearance application.

Reports that President Trump ordered his then-Chief of Staff, John Kelly, to override the misgivings of senior officials and approve Kushner’s security clearance led to the House Oversight Committee demanding the White House release documents related to the clearances of top advisors. The committee’s chairman, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), wrote a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, ordering the documents to be handed over by March 4, 2019.

“If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role in overruling that recommendation, why [former White House chief of staff John] Kelly and [former White House counsel Don] McGahn both felt compelled to document these actions, and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this Committee,” wrote Cummings.

Since then, the White House has yet to release the documents, and Kushner has come under further scrutiny for allegedly discussing sensitive government matters over WhatsApp and private email. Cummings wrote another letter demanding documents related to Kushner’s communication practices on March 21, 2019, threatening to subpoena if the White House fails to comply by April 1.

During his period with top-security clearance, the President’s son-in-law had access to the nation’s most sensitive information. Like President Trump, Kushner did not put his assets in a blind trust, and he retains extensive real estate properties and substantial ownership of Kushner companies. Kushner Companies sought investment from Qatar in the family’s heavily indebted 666 Fifth Avenue property (which has since been rescued by Brookfield Properties), which the Qataris denied, weeks before the Saudi and UAE blockade on the nation.

Jared Kushner’s Cozy Relationship with Saudi Arabia, MBS

Kushner’s financial conflicts of interest lead to serious national security concerns. Kushner has maintained a close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he allegedly messages directly over WhatsApp.

In February 2019, a report titled “Whistleblowers Raise Grave Concerns with Trump Administration’s Efforts to Transfer Sensitive Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia,” House Democrats detailed a push by top Trump officials, including Kushner, to give Saudi Arabia technology to build nuclear power plants. According to the Intercept, the Saudi crown prince boasted to the Emirati prince he had Kushner “in his pocket.”

In the report, the whistleblowers stated, “Strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.” Around the same time, Brookfield Asset Management made a deal with the Kushner’s to bail out the underwater 666 Fifth Avenue property; Brookfield announced the $4.6 billion purchase of Westinghouse Electric, a bankrupt nuclear power company. Westinghouse Electric has previously sought bids to develop atomic energy in the Saudi kingdom.

Although it appears Kushner may no longer have to worry about the Mueller investigation, the President’s son-in law’s financial conflicts of interest and foreign policy inexperience make him a dangerous liability to the national security of the United States, and evidence indicates he will remain under the scrutiny of the House Oversight Committee for the foreseeable future.

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Peter Castagno

Peter Castagno is a freelance writer with a Master’s degree in International Conflict Resolution. He has traveled throughout the Middle East and Latin America to gain firsthand insight in some of the world’s most troubled areas, and he plans on publishing his first book in 2019.

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