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kushner capers
January 20, 2018

President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, rapidly established himself as "Mr. China" in his father-in-law's nascent administration last year, a New Yorker piece published Saturday reports. He talked repeatedly with Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, conversations that happened alone or with a limited retinue of American officials, a break with past administrations' practice of marshaling a collection of experts for U.S.-China meetings.

Chinese accounts of Kushner's relationship with Cui raised alarm in the U.S. intelligence community, The New Yorker reports:

According to current and former officials briefed on U.S. intelligence about Chinese communications, Chinese officials said that Cui and Kushner, in meetings to prepare for the summit at Mar-a-Lago, discussed Kushner's business interests along with policy. Some intelligence officials became concerned that the Chinese government was seeking to use business inducements to influence Kushner's views. The intelligence wasn't conclusive, according to those briefed on the matter. "I never saw any indication that it was successful," a former senior official said, of Chinese efforts to compromise Kushner. The Chinese could have mischaracterized their discussions with Kushner. [The New Yorker]

In a statement to The New Yorker, Kushner's representative strenuously denied all wrongdoing, saying there "was never a time — never — that Mr. Kushner spoke to any foreign officials, in the campaign, transition, and in the administration, about any personal or family business. He was scrupulous in this regard." Read the full New Yorker story here. Bonnie Kristian

November 16, 2017

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Jared Kushner's lawyer Thursday, stating President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser did not give the panel's investigators emails he received and forwarded about WikiLeaks and a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite."

In their letter to Abbe Lowell, Grassley and Feinstein demand that Kushner turn over "several documents that are known to exist," based on testimony from other witnesses. Those documents include "September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks" and "documents concerning a 'Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.'" They also said Kushner has not "produced any phone records that we presume exist and would relate to Mr. Kushner's communications" and asked for records of his communications to and about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The committee gave Kushner until Nov. 27 to fulfill the request. Catherine Garcia

May 27, 2017

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Saturday said he "would not be concerned" by backchannel communications with Russia, though he declined to specifically comment on allegations that President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner unsuccessfully attempted to arrange a secret communication channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin shortly after the election.

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Press Secretary Sean Spicer also refused to discuss Kushner at Saturday's media briefing. "We're not going to comment on Jared," said Cohn. "We're just not going to comment."

McMaster did note the U.S. has "backchannel communications with a number of countries," though Kushner was a private citizen and not an authorized representative of Washington at the time when he allegedly spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Kushner's legal team said Friday night he has "no recollection" of the alleged conversation with Kislyak, and he is happy to speak with federal investigators about his role in the Trump campaign. Bonnie Kristian

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