Text Messages Show the Critical Role the Trump White House Had in Giving MBS His Job
On Monday, I published excerpts including text messages from legal documents that supported my previous reporting about the relationship forged between Jared Kushner and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known as MBS. The messages showed that, in the spring of 2017, MBS and Kushner discussed how MBS—then only the deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia—did not have the support of three US intelligence agencies (the CIA, the FBI and the NSA) to dislodge his cousin, then-current Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a long-time counterterrorist asset and ally of U.S. intelligence who had even been awarded a medal for saving American lives.
I reported how sources told me Kushner played a role in helping MBS ultimately dislodge MBN in June 2017 and how MBN was aware of their plans (which he believed were formed early in the Trump administration) to oust him. At the time, MBN warned confidants (who spoke with me on the condition of anonymity) that, should they succeed, he suspected money would change hands (between MBS and Kushner) and there would be evidence of it ultimately.
This month, it was reported by the New York Times that Kushner recently received an investment of $2 billion from the PIF, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, at the behest of MBS, who overrode advisors who had been leery because of Kushner’s lack of investing track record.
(A spokesperson for Affinity, Kushner’s investment fund, told the NYT, “Affinity, like many other top investment firms, is proud to have PIF and other leading organizations that have careful screening criteria, as investors.”)
Jared Kushner watches alongside a member of the Saudi delegation during a meeting between Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
The excerpts I published are from the complaint of Saad Aljabri, MBN’s right-hand aide, who is suing MBS and his alleged henchmen for attempted murder (“ongoing attempted extrajudicial killing,” as the document says), including activities carried out on American soil.
In his complaint, Aljabri alleges that MBN was aware by the spring of 2017 that MBS and Kushner were talking about the succession issue. At the time, MBS indicated it was a problem that he didn’t have the U.S. intelligence agencies on his side, even though his visit to the White House in March 2017 had gone well and he appeared to have support of Trump and, reportedly, especially of Kushner, with whom he stayed in close touch.
John Brennan, former CIA director under Barack Obama, confirmed to me yesterday, “MBN was viewed by the U.S. intelligence community at large as a very strong partner and counterterrorism force and an upstanding and respected individual. And so I have no doubt that, into 2017, views of MBN [by the CIA and other intelligence agencies] had not changed. But there was a change at the senior levels of the U.S. government during the Trump [administration].”
In May of 2017, in an effort to counteract MBS’s courting of Kushner and Trump, documents show that MBN ultimately hired the then-little-known Trump-friendly lobbyist Robert Stryk for a very large sum: $5.4 million for one year.