Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump by Vicky Ward

Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump by Vicky Ward

Author:Vicky Ward
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 2019-03-19T00:00:00+00:00


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The more he heard about Trump’s impending trip to Riyadh, the more Tillerson feared it was all a performance. “A huge percentage of the discussions about the trip [from Kushner] was, ‘What cool stuff could we do visually?’” someone close to Tillerson told me.

Kushner always seemed more concerned with image than substance. On April 4, he had been photographed during a tour of Iraq wearing dark sunglasses, an open-collar button-down shirt, a navy blazer—under a flak jacket with his name on it—while accompanying General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on an inspection of the troops. The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon lampooned the absurd outfit on Saturday Night Live, which irked Trump, who told Bannon he had not even been aware of Kushner’s travel plans. Tillerson did not see much to laugh at here, either. Kushner had made the trip, so he said, to get to know Dunford, but the way he seemed to think that a brief visit would make him an expert on the region raised questions in the State and Defense Departments about his seriousness. Had it all been a photo op that misfired? “Jared will do things like wanting to go have a tour, and then he’ll take one trip. And then he’ll be like, ‘Now I know about the waste in our Defense Department.’ It’s as if he watches a YouTube video,” said someone who talked to Tillerson about it.

On May 1, Kushner met with a Saudi delegation in Washington to push a $110 billion sale of U.S. defense equipment—a plan they wanted to finalize in time for the Riyadh summit. The New York Times reported him as saying, “Let’s get this done today.” During the meeting, the Saudis asked about buying a radar system, and, sensing cost was an issue, Kushner phoned Marillyn Hewson, the top executive at Lockheed Martin, who said she’d look into it. She was being polite. The reaction inside the senior ranks of Lockheed Martin and the Defense Department was that there was no chance that deal would be renegotiated just like that. What Kushner had done was both ignorant and potentially harmful. “Arms deals are very carefully calibrated, complicated things,” someone inside Lockheed explained. They also require congressional approval.

In fact, Bruce Riedel, the Brookings Institution senior fellow and former CIA and Pentagon official, wrote for Brookings later that spring that the announced deal had still not closed—and probably never would. “There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts.… None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration.” The whole thing was a charade, a PR stunt, and Kushner looked absurd. A leading Republican strategist told me he believed Bannon must have leaked the item to the Times, because where was the upside? (Bannon said he had nothing to do with it.) It portrayed Kushner as “a ham-handed manipulator,” the strategist said. “I mean, who the



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