Kushner On His Way Out?
The president’s sleazy son-in-law is a walking scandal. Trump may be forced to fire him.
by Jay Lorenz
Jared Kushner has been a headache for the Trump administration. He has slithered his way through the White House, seemingly always in the spotlight while never accomplishing anything. He brings no discernible benefit to the administration, instead pushing an ulterior agenda while courting controversy. Virtually no one on the right or left supports Kushner, and he gets universally negative media coverage. Kushner’s various mistakes and shady operations have snowballed recently, leading to widespread speculation that he is on his way out of the administration. Though Trump may be hesitant to fire someone in his family, eventually he will have to force Kushner out for the good of his presidency.
Kushner’s only discernible qualification is having married the president’s favorite child. He has no political experience and advocates the opposite political views of Trump’s voters. Trump has purged his administration of nationalist influence, so Kushner is just one of many neoliberal globalists surrounding the president. However, he has an outsized influence. Using his wife to gain access, Kushner has been deeply involved in many affairs, chief among them, Middle East foreign policy. Kushner, a Jew, is one of the many voices shouting in the president’s ear that he must pursue the interests of Israel in the region regardless of its effect on the United States. When people like Kushner are in charge, America ends up in protracted Middle Eastern wars with no end game. Kushner, along with others in the administration, consistently tries to persuade the president to abandon his campaign positions for liberal orthodoxy.
Those are the reasons we want him gone, but other actions have him in hot water with the establishment. Kushner has faced increased pressure, much of which stems from the Russia investigation. Kushner was at the June 9, 2016, meeting during which Donald Trump Jr. attempted to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin-tied source. Kushner also reportedly spoke with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about establishing a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government, which would have circumvented U.S. intelligence agencies. Kushner neglected to disclose these contacts on his SF-86 form, on which he needed to list his contacts with foreign officials in order to gain security clearance. Kushner has since added more than 100 names of foreign officials to the list. Kushner gave the lamest possible excuse for the error, saying that he had accidentally hit the “send” button. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s lawyers want Kushner to step down due to his Russia connections.
The entire Russia saga is mostly a hoax, so, although Kushner’s actions are shady, it’s likely that nothing too untoward was done. But that’s not how the Democrats see it. One of the main pressures that will eventually drive Kushner out is the insinuation that he could be used to tie Trump to Russia. But that’s not the only problem he has. The Kushner family business is reportedly being investigated for breaking immigration law, an infraction that looks especially bad on the president considering his anti-immigrant rhetoric and base. Kushner’s father went to prison for tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions, so the investigation would not be a first for the family business. Kushner was also fined for not turning in another form, this one for financial disclosures. In the form, Kushner and his wife have estimates on property values which differ by up to a million dollars.
The biggest thing dragging Kushner down right now is his use of a private email. Kushner’s lawyer has revealed that he used a private email account to handle government emails. After Trump campaigned with a significant focus on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business, this would be a massive public relations blow. Trump could not possibly justify allowing someone in his administration to do something for which he said Clinton should be put in prison. If this becomes further substantiated, Kushner (and Ivanka) will have to resign immediately, and Trump will be embroiled in yet another scandal. If Politico’s report of a third email end up being true, it is even more damaging.
Even with the biggest accusations unconfirmed, the information we do have is enough to put Kushner on the hot seat. The sheer optics of the situation mean Trump could release a pressure valve by asking him to resign. Chief of Staff John Kelly has been phasing Kushner out. Without as much influence and under such pressure, Kushner may find it a good time to drop out of the spotlight. Whether voluntarily or not, Kushner is almost certainly on his way out.