Why Jared Kushner's gargantuan debt matters in Trump-Russia probe | Opinion


By Jennifer Rubin

Politico reports:

“Jared Kushner, a White House aide and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, appears to have drawn more money out of three separate lines of credit in the months after he joined the White House last year, a newly released document shows.

“Versions of the couple’s disclosures made public in July valued those debts at $1 million to $5 million apiece. The loans were extended by three banks: Bank of America, New York Community Bank and Signature Bank. … One debt did drop in value as Ivanka Trump’s form was revised: the amount owed on a Visa account went down to a range of $50,001 to $100,000, from $100,001 to $250,000.”

(As an aside, who carries that much credit-card debt? Are the Kushners’ liquid assets so low that their lifestyle has to be paid for by borrowing at presumably outrageous rates?)

Kushner’s financial problems relating to his 2007 purchase of the 666 Fifth Ave. building for $1.8 billion have come up in the context of the Russia investigation. Last September the Wall Street Journal reported:

“Some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers earlier this summer concluded that Jared Kushner should step down as senior White House adviser because of possible legal complications related to a probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and aired concerns about him to the president, people familiar with the matter said.

“Among their concerns was that Mr. Kushner was the adviser closest to the president who had the most dealings with Russian officials and businesspeople during the campaign and transition, some of which are currently being examined by federal investigators and congressional oversight panels. Mr. Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and confidant, has said he had four such meetings or interactions.

“Another issue was Mr. Kushner’s initial omission of any contacts with foreign officials from the form required to obtain a security clearance. He later updated the form several times to include what he has said were more than 100 contacts with foreign officials.”

Kushner met with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, to discuss a secret back-channel and with the head of a sanctioned Russian bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB). (“The conversation is curious not only because it represents a top Trump official secretly meeting with an arm of the Russian government, but also because accounts of the meeting differ in important ways,” the Atlantic’s David Graham noted at the time. “Kushner says he attended the meeting in his capacity as an adviser to President-elect Trump. But VEB says that the meeting concerned Kushner’s family real-estate business.”)

And he was present at the now-infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by a Kremlin-connected lawyer.

Kushner’s financial problems make these contacts all the more troubling. As he was racking up debt, law professor Jed Shugerman tells me, Kushner “also just coincidentally was setting up secret lines to the Kremlin and was meeting…



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *