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The Kushner Problem Goes
Ballistic For Trump
Kushner loses Top Secret clearance, report says foreign countries talked of ways to manipulate him

February 28, 2018

Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump at meeting with Marine Corps commanders, Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. (DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)
Chronicle opinion
By Rex D. Cain

(NATIONAL) – When he was running for the job of President, brash billionaire Donald Trump had a mantra: he was going to pick the best and brightest people, the top people in their fields to work in his administration to “make America great again.”

But like so many statements the bombastic, mercurial New Yorker has made over the years this one has proven to be yet another column of swamp gas from a braggadocio real estate salesman who doesn't appear to know how to actually deliver on promises made or the difference between fact and fantasy.

Trump’s picks for his administration have by and large been disasters for America.

To wit: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team – looking into the Trump campaign-Russia connection as well as Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 Presidential election in Trump's favor - has either indicted or extracted guilty pleas from 19 people and three companies so far.

The tally, according to Vox.com:

“Four former Trump advisers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer. Five of these people have already pleaded guilty — the latest being former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates, who signed a plea deal and committed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation Fridday...Michael Flynn (former Trump National Security Advisor) and George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to making false statements about their contacts with Russians to investigators. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were hit with tax, money laundering and other charges that relate to their work for the government of Ukraine and a Russia-affiliated Ukrainian political party.”

And Donald Trump said he was going to “drain the swamp”?

Jared exposed: he's no rocket scientist

And now Jared Kushner, Trump’s naive, unqualified and bumbling son-in-law - who remains the poster boy (along with wife, little Ivanka) for why nepotism rules exist and why they should be strictly adhered to - has lost his Top Secret clearance; and this from a man designated as “Senior Adviser” to the President of the United States.

A top adviser who, it should be remembered has no political or diplomatic experience and arguably not a dime's worth of common sense particularly in light of the most recent news developments.

Kushner’s qualifications for the job? He was born to a wealthy family and married Trump’s equally wealthy daughter Ivanka. That’s it. The two wealthy, preppy kids came to the White House giggling and smiling to play at being adults and were named Senior Advisers to the President.

That should alarm any American with a bit of gray matter left upstairs.

Politico first reported Tuesday that Kushner has been stripped of his access to the nation's top secrets after his security clearance was downgraded. Kushner, along with some other White House officials who’d been operating on interim clearances, had their access downgraded last week after chief of staff John Kelly made some changes to the security clearance system.

Four countries discussed ways they could exploit Kushner

Then the Washington Post reported Tuesday that officials from at least four countries have discussed ways they could manipulate Kushner, “By taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.”

The post reported that it was unclear, based on current and former US officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter, that the countries involved – Mexico, Israel, China and the United Arab Emirates – had acted on those conversations.

According to the Post story, some foreign government officials said they wanted to work exclusively with Kushner and not other, more experienced Trump administration officials. That is based on a conversation with an unnamed former White House official, said the post.

The story also said some White House officials were worried Kushner was “naive and being tricked” during talks with foreign officials. A spokesman for Kushner’s lawyer told the newspaper he rejected claims that foreign officials tried to use Kushner’s complex business arrangements and inexperience to manipulate him.

CNN reported that Kushner – while he was on Capitol Hill Tuesday for a meeting on prison reform -- declined to respond to repeated CNN questions about his security clearance and The Washington Post report.

And then there was one more

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump's “business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president,” CNN reported as an exclusive Tuesday night.

That report is based on talks with “three people familiar with the matter.”

From the report:

~ Questions to some witnesses during “wide-ranging interviews” included the timing of Trump's decision to seek the presidency, potentially compromising information the Russians may have had about him, and why efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through.

~ The lines of inquiry “indicate Mueller's team is reaching beyond the campaign to explore how the Russians might have sought to influence Trump at a time when he was discussing deals in Moscow and contemplating a presidential run.”

~ Investigators asked one witness when Trump became serious about running for President, a person familiar with the matter said, adding that “investigators seemed very interested in when Trump actually decided to run and how that coincided with his business ventures.

~ Several lines of questioning to witnesses have centered on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Moscow, and unsuccessful discussions to brand a Trump Tower Moscow...one of the sources said, based on the questions, that Mueller's team was focused on the financing of the Miss Universe Pageant, such as who paid for what and what money was paid to whom.



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