Jun 2 • 11M

“If Existing Law Does Not Prohibit What Jared Kushner Did, Perhaps It Should.”

White House ethics czar Richard Painter on the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into Jared Kushner and that $2 Billion investment from Saudi Arabia

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Finally! Congress has done what Bush White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter has been advocating for weeks in this newsletter and which I’ve also pushed for here and on television regarding Jared Kushner.

Congress has asked Kushner to hand over both financial documentation and personal correspondence between himself and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during and after Kushner’s time in the Trump White House.

House Oversight and Reform committee chair Carolyn Maloney wrote to Kushner that the $2 billion invested by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) into his firm Affinity Partners six months after he left office was troubling.

“Your close relationship with Crown Prince bin Salman, your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump administration, and PIF’s decision to fund the lion’s share of your new business venture—only six months after the end of your White House tenure—create the appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work,” she wrote.

A spokesperson for Kushner said, “While achieving six peace deals in the Middle East, Mr. Kushner fully abided by all legal and ethical guidelines both during and after his government service.”

Well, he’s got a deadline of two weeks to show that.

Jared Kushner during a press briefing at the White House on August 13, 2020 as Trump announced a new peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Maloney has not accused Kushner of a violation, but she says she wants to know if there should be stricter legislation regarding former government officials doing business with former counterparts after leaving office.

So, what will Kushner likely do? And will the White House hand over any official communications?

Remember, President Biden has just announced he will break the freeze with MBS and pay him a visit, presumably because he/we need the Saudis to start producing more oil. Presto.

Painter and I reunited for a conversation on what’s probably our favorite topic at this point.

The takeaways:

  1. Kushner could comply. After all, it’s not an investigation into him.

  2. He could stall for time.

  3. The Democrats would need to put their feet on the gas if he does stall and issue a subpoena to give him reasonable time to answer it.

  4. A majority of the House would have to vote for “contempt of Congress” if he didn’t answer a subpoena and the House breaks in September for campaign season. Come November, it’s not at all clear that there will be a majority of Democrats in the House.

Listen to our full interview at the link above. 

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[NOTE: Mr. Painter’s opinions are his own and do not represent the views of Ms. Ward.]