I previously wrote in July 2017 about whether Jared Kushner was taking orders from Vladimir Putin, concluding: “For all we know, Jared Kushner is the greatest threat to national security since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Certainly he should be viewed as such until we know for sure.”
It’s now 18 months later, and it seems certain that Kushner is among the most corrupt and seditious figures ever to work in the White House. The son-in-law and top adviser to the president, the de facto U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and would-be Middle East peacemaker, is no patriot. To the contrary, Kushner has shown nothing but contempt for the United States: violating its laws, lying to its law enforcement officials, and (possibly) selling its state policy for his own personal enrichment.
Despite criminal activity breathtaking in both scope and audacity, Kushner tends to receive preferential treatment from the media, like he’s royalty or a popular celebrity and not one of the most dangerous criminals in American history. Can it be attributed to Kushner’s cozy relationship with David Pecker, publisher of National Enquirer, Star, Sun, Weekly World News, and others? Or is it simply that Kushner generally avoids the spotlight, so his crimes are overshadowed by those of his father-in-law?
As we eagerly await his looming indictments, let’s survey the many alleged crimes of Jared Kushner.
1. Weaponizing Data to Contaminate the Election
Kushner joined the Trump Campaign in November 2015, to head the social media team, but it was not until June 2016 that the social media campaign began to really take off.
That was when Kushner assumed control of “all data-driven efforts” with a data hub that worked closely with British outfit Cambridge Analytica, which essentially weaponized data obtained from Facebook and other sources. According to Forbes magazine:
As the election barreled toward its finale, Kushner’s system, with its high margins and up-to-the-minute voter data, provided both ample cash and the insight on where to spend it. When the campaign registered the fact that momentum in Michigan and Pennsylvania was turning Trump’s way, Kushner unleashed tailored TV ads, last-minute rallies and thousands of volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls.
Trump’s microtargeting on social media was “Kushner’s system.”
What Forbes called a “stealth data machine” appears to have been something more sinister. As Kushner himself readily admits, the social media team pursued “microtargeting,” which uses data-mining to obtain specific consumer data and demographics to make the most of their social media campaigns. But as became apparent, Cambridge Analytica was not exactly scrupulous in obtaining personal information about Facebook users.
And while it’s not clear the exact extent to which Cambridge Analytica’s illegal behavior was implemented by the Trump campaign, we do know that it was able to use “real-time information to determine which messages were resonating where and then shape Trump’s travel schedule around it” in key states. Although it may not be obvious now, Facebook is in enormous legal liability for allowing its data to be used in such a way. And it seems Jared Kushner was the “Boy Wonder” who made it all happen. Trump’s microtargeting was essentially Kushner’s system.
2. Meeting Illicitly With Russian Officials/Surrogates
It is against the law for American political campaigns to receive aid from foreign sources. It is likewise against the law for private American citizens to negotiate policy for the United States if they are not representatives of the current administration. So obviously arranging for campaign aid from a hostile foreign power in exchange for the promise of manipulation of U.S. policy would violate laws to the extreme. Kushner, however, appears to have done all these things.
At an April 2016 VIP-only foreign policy speech attended by most of his inner circle, Donald Trump promised a “good deal” for Russia. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended, and Jared Kushner later claimed to have been the mastermind behind the event, which seems to have signaled to the Russians that the Trump campaign was willing to play ball.
In June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. met at Trump Tower with the Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskya, who’d promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Also in attendance were convicted felon Paul Manafort, representing the Trump campaign, and on the Russian side, Russian-American businessman Rinat Akhmetshin, alleged money launderer Ike Kaveladze, translator Anatoly Samochornov, and publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped arrange the meeting. Jared Kushner was there too, at least initially. He was also on the email chain concerning the meeting.
Kushner and convicted felon Mike Flynn met with Ambassador Kislyak at Trump Tower in the first week of December 2016. At the meeting, Kushner proposed a Russian embassy backchannel to avoid having to disclose communication between the camps going forward. Whatever went on at this sit-down, Kushner and Flynn went to great lengths to avoid discovery.
In mid-December that same year, Kushner ventured out to Newark Airport to meet Sergei Gorkov, the chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), the Russian state bank that was placed on the U.S. sanctions list in 2014. VEB later claimed that the meeting “was conducted with Kushner in his role as the head of his family’s real estate business,” according to the Washington Post. The White House, meanwhile, described it as a “diplomatic meeting,” whatever that means. Immediately after the rendezvous, Gorkov reportedly flew directly to see Putin, halfway around the world in Japan.
3. Meeting With the President of a Sanctioned Bank
That meeting with Gorkov? That was neither very legal nor very cool. Kushner is not allowed to do business with entities on the sanctions list. At the time of the meeting, Kushner’s company was in serious financial jeopardy. It needed a $1-billion loan to secure its white elephant of a property at 666 Fifth Avenue. If VEB’s suggestion is that the meeting was taken by Kushner “in his role as the head of his family’s real estate business,” that is highly illegal. What was Kushner offering in exchange for his family business’ loan?
4. Lying on His SF-86 Security Clearance Form
Kushner did not cite these meetings on his SF-86 security clearance form, which is itself a felony carrying a five-year prison term. Indeed, we only know about these clandestine Russia meetings because of great investigative journalism. Given Kushner’s penchant for secrecy, this suggests there might be other meetings we don’t yet know about.
5. Colluding With Tabloids to Attack Trump Critics
Trump’s longtime relationship with AMI’s David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer and other similar publications, led to AMI becoming a de facto slush fund, paying off Trump’s erstwhile paramours on Trump’s behalf to ensure stories of his infidelity would not break before the election. For years, the point man in this operation was Trump’s disgraced personal attorney Michael Cohen. After Trump took the White House, Jared Kushner assumed his role. As the Daily Beast reports:
Shortly after the Trump presidency began, Kushner and Pecker talked repeatedly, on subjects ranging from relations with the Saudi regime, to possible dirt that the Enquirer had on Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, according to the four sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
The tactics of acquiring unseemly kompromat on rivals, it should be noted, is well known to Kushner, as this was ultimately one of the reasons his father, Charles Kushner, was sent to prison.
6. Lobbying for Qatari Blockade
In his role as White House adviser, Kushner (allegedly) pushed for the blockade of Qatar, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. (During the Gulf War, American military operations were headquartered in Qatar.) There’s nothing wrong with doing this, but Kushner appears to have lobbied for the blockade only after the Qatari government refused to provide his family business with a loan it needed.
7. Providing the Saudi Crown Prince With Classified Intelligence
Kushner has a well-established relationship with his fellow millennial of privilege Mohammad bin Salman, or MbS. Kushner allegedly provided MbS with classified information related to the members of the royal family who opposed him, leading to a purge of the disloyal in the Kingdom. While this has yet to be substantiated beyond one report, it squares with what we know of Kushner and MbS’s bromance.
8. Failure to Warn Jamal Khashoggi of the Plot Against Him
The CIA knew there was a plan in place to abduct Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It seems likely this intelligence was relayed to Kushner, given his close relationship with MbS and the Saudis. If so, Kushner had a duty to warn Khashoggi, who was a U.S. resident at the time of his assassination. Per the Washington Post:
Intelligence agencies have a ‘duty to warn’ people who might be kidnapped, seriously injured or killed, according to a directive signed in 2015. The obligation applies regardless of whether the person is a U.S. citizen. Khashoggi was a U.S. resident.
9. Using Personal Email to Conduct Government Business
The man who helped run a social media campaign that centered on Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email accounts to conduct government business seems to have thought the same rules do not apply to him. As Politico reported in 2017:
The National Security Agency warned senior White House officials in classified briefings that improper use of personal cellphones and email could make them vulnerable to espionage by Russia, China, Iran and other adversaries, according to officials familiar with the briefings.
The briefings came soon after President Donald Trump was sworn into office on Jan. 20, and before some top aides, including senior adviser Jared Kushner, used their personal email and phones to conduct official White House business.
These nine alleged crimes are easily connected to Kushner and range in punishment from stiff fines to prison time to execution. And these are just what the press has openly reported about. It stands to reason that there might be even more yet to be revealed.
Perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, the Office of the Special Counsel will indict Kushner on any number of these and other crimes. And if it happens that Kushner did in fact commit espionage and treason, I would shed no tears if he met the same fate as the Rosenbergs.
Sedition deserves no quarter.