Politics: Mueller team asking if Kushner foreign business ties influenced Trump policy - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Mueller team asking if Kushner foreign business ties influenced Trump policy

21:50  02 march  2018
21:50  02 march  2018 Source:   nbcnews.com

Trump: Kelly to decide Kushner security clearance

  Trump: Kelly to decide Kushner security clearance President Donald Trump said Friday he will not make the decision on whether to let Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, keep his temporary security clearance, telling reporters at the White House that he will let chief of staff John Kelly make the decision. "That will be up to General Kelly. General Kelly respects Jared a lot and General Kelly will make that call," Trump said at a news conference. "I won't make that call. I will let the general, who is right here, make that call. Jared is doing some very important things for our country. He gets paid zero.

Kushner 's family real estate business , Kushner Companies, approached Qatar multiple times, including last spring, about investing in the Another discussion of interest to Mueller 's team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016 with a former prime

Special counsel Robert Mueller 's team has asked witnesses about Kushner 's efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties Another discussion of interest to Mueller 's team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016 with a former prime

a group of people sitting at a table: <p> Jared Kushner, who serves as the senior adviser to President Donald Trump, is under more hot water than ever.</p><p> The 37-year-old is part of Trump's closest circle of White House aides, and he is an integral part of the Trump family through his marriage to the president's daughter <span href=Ivanka.

Although his background in Democratic politics would suggest that he is an unlikely figure for such a position, just like Trump, Kushner comes from a wealthy and influential New York family that made its money in real estate.

Kushner has made a name for himself in real-estate development, but he has now found himself in the crosshairs of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Here's how Kushner inherited his family's business legacy and rose to the top of American politics in the Trump era:

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How Jared Kushner rocketed to the top of American politics by his mid-30s — and found himself in more hot water than ever

Slideshow by Business Insider

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are scrutinizing whether any of Jared Kushner's business discussions with foreigners during the presidential transition later shaped White House policies in ways designed to either benefit or retaliate against those he spoke with, according to witnesses and other people familiar with the investigation.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has asked witnesses about Kushner's efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties, focusing specifically on his discussions during the transition with individuals from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, according to witnesses who have been interviewed as part of the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 election.

Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets

  Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) WASHINGTON — The security clearance of White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has been downgraded, significantly reducing his access to classified information, according to two people informed of the decision.Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the "top secret/sensitive compartmented information" level for more than a year.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller 's team has asked witnesses about Kushner 's efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties Another discussion of interest to Mueller 's team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016 with a former prime

As part of the scrutiny of Kushner's discussions with Turks, federal investigators have reached out to Turkish nationals for information on Kushner through the FBI's legal attache office in Ankara, according to two people familiar with the matter. Separately, Qatari government officials visiting the U.S. in late January and early February considered turning over to Mueller what they believe is evidence of efforts by their country's Persian Gulf neighbors in coordination with Kushner to hurt their country, four people familiar with the matter said.

The Qatari officials decided against cooperating with Mueller for now out of fear it would further strain the country's relations with the White House, these people said.

White House: Kushner will stay despite losing top-secret clearance

  White House: Kushner will stay despite losing top-secret clearance The White House said Tuesday that Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, will remain in his role despite having lost his top-secret security clearance. Load Error "He's doing a great job on behalf of the president and he is going to continue in his role," White House spokesman Raj Shah said on CNN.The White House is seeking to tamp down speculation that Kushner's position is in jeopardy after his clearance was downgraded as part of chief of staff John Kelly's push to restrict access to classified information among members of the administration.

I mean I get that Mueller can‘t burn off a firework of charges, but these investigations feel super slow. I wonder how long it will take until they get to Trump . I think the major variable is what's Trump 's reaction to his family receiving charges will be, and if they'll try to get him out of office through that or

The special counsel wants to know if Jared Kushner 's business meetings with Qataris and others during the presidential transition influenced Trump policy . Another discussion of interest to Mueller 's team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016

Kushner's family real estate business, Kushner Companies, approached Qatar multiple times, including last spring, about investing in the company's troubled flagship property at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York, but the government-run sovereign wealth fund declined, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

Another discussion of interest to Mueller's team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016 with a former prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, or HBJ, according to people familiar with the meeting.

HBJ had been in talks with Kushner Companies about investing in its Fifth Avenue property, which is facing roughly $1.4 billion in debt that is due in 2019, these people said. Those talks with the company continued after Kushner entered the White House and stepped away from the business, but last spring HBJ decided against investing, these people said.

Has Jared Kushner Conspired to Defraud America?

  Has Jared Kushner Conspired to Defraud America? In the guise of pursuing U.S. foreign policy, maybe the president’s son-in-law was serving the financial interests of his family.Load Error

Special counsel Robert Mueller ’s team has asked witnesses about Kushner ’s efforts to secure financing for his family’s real estate properties, focusing specifically on nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/ mueller - team - asking - if - kushner - foreign - business - ties - influenced - trump -n852681.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller 's team has asked witnesses about Kushner 's efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties in an effort to determine if they later influenced Trump 's foreign policy .

In the weeks after Kushner Companies' talks with the Qatari government and HBJ collapsed, the White House strongly backed an economically punishing blockade against Qatar, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, citing the country's support for terrorism as the impetus. Kushner, who is both President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser, has played a major role in Trump's Middle East policy and has developed close relationships with the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Some top Qatari government officials believe the White House's position on the blockade may have been a form of retaliation driven by Kushner, who was sour about the failed deal, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. Saudi Arabia and UAE have long had a rivalry with Qatar.

The White House, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have said the blockade against Qatar is in retaliation for their government's support for terrorism.

Any cooperation with Mueller's probe from foreign nationals or government officials would mark a significant new dimension to the investigation beyond what is currently publicly known.

Downgraded clearance complicates Kushner's work in White House

  Downgraded clearance complicates Kushner's work in White House Some aspects of the Middle East peace process are now above his clearance, experts say.The State Department insists that Kushner will continue his work on the Middle East peace process despite the downgrade in his clearance.

Kushner ’s family real estate business , Kushner Companies, approached Qatar multiple times, including last spring, about investing in the Another discussion of interest to Mueller ’s team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016 with a former prime

NBC Reports that Special counsel Robert Mueller 's team is investigating Kushner 's efforts to secure Any cooperation with Mueller 's probe from foreign nationals or government officials would Robert Mueller Asking If Jared Kushner 's Business Interests Influenced Trump Foreign Policy

While Kushner and his business dealings have long been a focus of the investigation, this line of questioning suggests Mueller could be building a case that directly links action he took after the election to his conduct as a senior adviser in the White House.

Kushner's divestment from his family's company before taking a job in the White House was limited. He allowed his brother to oversee his assets and transferred a trust to his mother, rather than removing his financial interests from his family. According to government ethics filings, he still holds as much as $761 million in real estate and other investments.

Discussions with Turks

It is unclear how successful Mueller's effort to reach Turkish nationals has been or what discussions Kushner had with Turks that are under scrutiny.

People familiar with the matter believe that Turkish President Recep Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak, who is also the country's energy minister, met with Michael Flynn, who would soon serve briefly as Trump's national security adviser, in New York in December 2016. Mueller's team has been investigating whether they discussed a possible quid-pro-quo deal. Flynn is cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

Image: Berat AlbayrakBerat Albayrak, right, Turkey's Energy Minister and son-in-law of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, places a soccer club scarf on his shoulders during a rally for the upcoming referendum, in his hometown city of Rize, in the Black Sea region, Turkey on April 3, 2017.: Berat Albayrak, right, Turkey's energy minister and son-in-law of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, places a soccer club scarf on his shoulders during a rally in Rize, Turkey, in April 2017.© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Berat Albayrak, right, Turkey's energy minister and son-in-law of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, places a soccer club scarf on his shoulders during a rally in Rize, Turkey, in April 2017.

While Qatari officials were in Washington last month, they came armed with materials they said showed the UAE has worked against their government, including information involving Kushner, people familiar with the matter said. They debated for days whether to turn it over to Mueller but felt their meetings with U.S. officials had been productive and so decided against it, these people said.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller ’s team has asked witnesses about Kushner ’s efforts to secure financing for his family’s real estate properties, focusing specifically on his discussions during the transition with individuals from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia

Jared Kushner was targeted in reports asserting that foreign governments sought to manipulate the president’s senior adviser via his business vulnerabilities, while Robert Mueller is asking if Kushner ’s foreign business ties are influencingTrump policies .

Kushner Companies' discussions with the Qatari government about funding did not advance, the people familiar with the matter said. After the company's pitch during a meeting in April 2017, the government decided not to invest. The Intercept first reported Friday that Kushner's father, Charles Kushner, had held the meeting with the Qataris.

"It was not the right deal for us," one Qatari official said.

During the transition Kushner had been negotiating with Chinese investors to secure needed financing for the Fifth Avenue building, including at least one meeting with the chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, but Anbang later said publicly that it would not invest in the building.

Kushner also met in New York with Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S., during the transition, but the content of the meeting is unknown.

HBJ's potential investment had been contingent on Kushner Companies securing another half of the funding and withdrew after the Chinese investment fell through, people familiar with the matter said.

Asked for comment about Kushner Companies' meetings with HBJ, the Qatari wealth fund and Turkish nationals, Chris Taylor, a spokeswoman for the company said: "To be clear, we did not meet with anyone from the Qatari Government to solicit sovereign funds for any of our projects. To suggest otherwise, is inaccurate and false."

Two people familiar with the matter said there's been outreach between Mueller's team and HBJ, though it's unclear in what form and if there have been substantive discussions between the investigators and the former Qatari prime minister.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller 's team has asked witnesses about Kushner 's efforts to secure financing for his Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 election. As part of the scrutiny of Kushner 's FOCUS please, the important question is ARE TRUMP 's ties influencing policy ?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller 's team is scrutinizing whether any of Jared Kushner 's business discussions with foreigners during the presidential transition Witnesses are being asked about Jared Kushner 's efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties, focusing specifically on his

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner's attorney, responded to questions from NBC News with a statement saying "time and time again, unnamed sources seeking only mischief have misled the media about what the Special Counsel is doing."

A building at 666 Fifth Avenue, owned by Kushner Companies, rises above the street in New YorkA building at 666 Fifth Avenue, owned by Kushner Companies, rises above the street in New York on March 30, 2017.: The building at 666 Fifth Avenue, owned by Kushner Companies, in New York.© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC The building at 666 Fifth Avenue, owned by Kushner Companies, in New York. "They do it knowing the Special Counsel cannot and will not respond to inaccurate leads. This is just the latest example of this misinformation campaign," he said. "Mr. Kushner's role in the campaign and transition was to be a point person for completely appropriate contacts from foreign officials and he did not mix his or his former company's business in those contacts and any claim otherwise is false."

A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment for the story.

Kushner could face legal exposure if Mueller's team determines he is "making decisions in the White House that ultimately have an impact on his own financial position," said Ron Hosko, who retired in 2014 as head of the FBI's criminal division.

Under U.S. law, it is illegal to for any government employee, including someone being considered for an advisory role, to render advice based on financial interest.

Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest in a December letter to Kushner, asking whether he used his upcoming position at the White House to secure financing for the indebted property.

Federal investigators, as well as lawmakers, have scrutinized Kushner's transition meetings with Russians and officials from the UAE, according to four sources. Kushner had a meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a Russian bank that is under U.S. sanctions, which was held in the New York office of one of Kushner's friends, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Kushner has said he did not discuss sanctions with Gorkov, who has said they did.

He also met in December 2016 at Trump Tower with the UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and has been close with the country's ambassador in Washington. The crown prince broke protocol for that meeting by not flagging his U.S. trip for Obama administration officials, who only learned about it later from intelligence reports, according to people familiar with the matter.

It's unclear if Mueller has attempted to speak with any UAE, Chinese or Russian officials.

The Turkish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Qatari government declined to comment. Representatives from the UAE and Chinese embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Qataris opted not to give info on Kushner, meetings to Mueller .
The Qataris believe they have evidence of illicit influence by the UAE on Trump associates, but didn't want to harm relations with the Trump administration.Lebanese-American businessman George Nader and Republican donor Elliott Broidy, who participated in the meetings, have both been the focus of news reports in recent days about their connections to the UAE and Trump associates.

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