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American investor, real-estate developer, newspaper publisher, and senior advisor to President Donald Trump
Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981) is an American investor, real-estate developer, and newspaper publisher who is currently senior advisor to his father-in-law, Donald Trump, the president of the United States. Kushner is the elder son of the former real-estate developer Charles Kushner, the son of Jewish immigrants from the USSR, and is married to Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter and fellow advisor. As a result of his father's conviction and incarceration for fraud, he took over management of his father's real estate company Kushner Companies, which launched his business career. He later also bought Observer Media, publisher of the New York Observer. He is the co-founder and part owner of Cadre, an online real-estate investment platform.
Kushner enrolled at Harvard University in 1999. Journalist Daniel Golden has alleged that Kushner was accepted due to his father's donations and history with the school. He was elected into the Fly Club, supported the campus Chabad house, and bought and sold real estate in Somerville, Massachusetts, as a vice president of Somerville Building Associates (a division of Kushner Companies), returning a profit of $20 million by its dissolution in 2005. Kushner graduated from Harvard in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government.
Following his father's conviction for fraud in 2005 and subsequent incarceration, Jared Kushner took over the management of his father's real estate company. As of 2019[update], Kushner's net worth is estimated at about $800 million.
Kushner was a real-estate investor, and increased Kushner Companies' presence in the New York City real-estate market.
Kushner Companies purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for $1.8 billion, the most expensive single property purchase in US history at the time.
Kushner Companies purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed. He assumed the role of CEO in 2008. Following the property crash that year, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail footage to Stanley Chera and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building. By that time, Kushner Companies had lost more than $90 million on its investment. He was the face of the deal but his father Charles Kushner pushed him to do the deal.
In 2006, Kushner purchased The New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million, using money he says he earned during his college years by closing deals on residential buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, with family members providing the backing for his investments.
After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format. Since then, he has been credited with increasing the Observers online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group. With no substantial experience in journalism, Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper's veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan. "This guy doesn't know what he doesn't know", Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time. As a result of his differences with Kushner, Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011. It has been alleged that Kushner used Observer as propaganda against rivals in real estate. Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey.
According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the "Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York's elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth ... [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013". In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.
Kushner stepped down from his newspaper role in January 2017 to pursue a role in President Donald Trump's administration. He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.
Jared Kushner had been a lifelong Democrat prior to his father-in-law Donald Trump entering politics. He had donated over $10,000 to Democratic campaigns starting at young age of 11. In 2008 he donated to the campaign for Hillary Clinton and his newspaper the New York Observer endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain in the US presidential election. After expressing disappointment with Barack Obama, however, he endorsed Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 via the New York Observer. In 2014 he continued to donate to Democratic groups, but he then continued his "ideological conversion" by joining his father-in-law Donald Trump's nascent US presidential campaign in the field of the Republican candidates in 2015. Kushner had no prior involvement in campaign politics or in government before Trump's campaign.
From the outset of the presidential campaign of his father-in-law Donald Trump, Kushner was the architect of Trump's digital, online, and social media campaigns, enlisting talent from Silicon Valley to run a 100-person social-media team dubbed "Project Alamo". Kushner, together with Paul Manafort and Brad Parscale, hired Steve Bannon's firm Cambridge Analytica to support the Trump campaign. Kushner has also helped as a speechwriter, and was tasked with working to establish a plan for Trump's White House transition team. He was for a time seen as Trump's de factocampaign manager, succeeding Corey Lewandowski, who was fired in part on Kushner's recommendation in June 2016. He had been intimately involved with campaign strategy, coordinating Trump's visit in late August to Mexico, and he is believed to be responsible for the choice of Mike Pence as Trump's running mate. Kushner's "sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign" has been described as "the locus of his father-in-law's presidential bid".
According to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who worked on technology for Hillary Clinton's campaign), Kushner's role in the 2016 election was its biggest surprise. Schmidt told Forbes, "Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources."Federal Election Commission filings indicate the Trump campaign spent $343 million, about 59 percent as much as the Clinton campaign.
On July 5, 2016, Kushner wrote an open letter in the New York Observer addressing the controversy around a tweet from the Trump campaign containing allegedly anti-Semitic imagery. He was responding to his own paper's editorial by Dana Schwartz criticizing Kushner's involvement with the Trump campaign. In the letter, Kushner wrote, "In my opinion, accusations like 'racist' and 'anti-Semite' are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless."
Japanese PM Shinz? Abe meets with Ivanka, president-elect Donald Trump, and Jared Kushner, November 2016
Kushner was reportedly an influential factor behind the firing of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team, as well as the dismissal from the Donald Trump transition team of anyone connected to Christie. An anonymous source familiar with the transition told Politico, "Jared doesn't like Christie... He's always held [the prosecution of his father] against Christie." Kushner told Forbes that the reports that he was involved in Christie's dismissal were false: "Six months ago, Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together... I was not behind pushing out him or his people."
On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named Senior Advisor to the President (formally, "Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor"). He consequently resigned as CEO of Kushner Companies, and as publisher of the Observer. Kushner's appointment was questioned on the basis of a 1967 anti-nepotism law. On January 20, 2017, the Department of JusticeOffice of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating, "The President may appoint relatives to his immediate staff of advisors." Kushner was sworn in on January 22, 2017. Kushner operated on a temporary security clearance for more than a year, with access to classified information, until he was granted permanent access in May 2018. On February 27, 2018, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly downgraded Kushner's interim security clearance to "secret" status, along with other White House staffers working with interim security clearances. He worked in the White House based on an interim security clearance until May 2018, when he passed a comprehensive background investigation.The New York Times reported in February 2019 that in May 2018 Trump ordered Kelly to grant Kushner a top-secret clearance, which Kelly contemporaneously documented in an internal memo. Trump had asserted in January 2019 that he had no role in directing officials to grant Kushner the clearance. Kushner's office is physically the closest to the Oval Office.
Furthermore, after Donald Trump became President-elect, Kushner and his wife met with Japanese Prime Minister and other Japanese officials, while his wife was conducting a licensing deal between her namesake clothing brand and a Japanese government-owned company. His wife sat in on a meeting between her father, then-president-elect Donald Trump, and Japan's prime minister, Shinz? Abe.
Kushner with President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March 2017
In late March 2017, Jared Kushner was also given the new role of leading the "White House Office of American Innovation", where Kushner reportedly has been focusing on improving governmental efforts with regard to Veterans Affairs, information-technology contracting, and the opioid crisis. Kushner was involved in the sale of $100+ billion of arms to Saudi Arabia, and during a meeting with Saudi officials at the White House, he called Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson to ask for a lower price on a radar system to detect ballistic missiles.
Kushner's business activities in China have drawn scrutiny for mixing government with business. Kushner's investments in real estate and financial services have also drawn controversy for conflicts of interest. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that he had failed to disclose all required financial information in his security clearance applications, including that he owes $1 billion in loans.
In an HBO/Axios interview released in June 2019, Kushner denied that President Trump was a racist. When asked whether birther conspiracy theories about President Obama (which Trump pushed extensively for a number of years) were racist, Kushner did not answer, saying instead twice, "Look, I wasn't really involved in that." In the interview, Kushner spoke about how great the United States was for accepting his grandparents as refugees, "It's a great reminder of how great this country is." In the same interview, he defended the Trump administration's decision to drastically reduce the number of refugees accepted by the United States (the lowest level in 40 years).
Between April and November 2016, Kushner had two undisclosed phone calls with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. (In May 2017, Kushner's attorney Jamie Gorelick told Reuters that Kushner had participated in "thousands of calls in this time period" and did not recall any with Kislyak.) In December 2016, Kushner met with Kislyak. That month, U.S. intelligence officials who were monitoring Kislyak reportedly overheard him relaying to Moscow a request from Kushner to establish a "secret and secure communications channel" with the Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities. Kislyak reportedly was "taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team".
In July 2017, Kushner appeared before both the House and Senate intelligence committees in closed session as part of their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He also released a public statement. In October 2017 the Senate Judiciary Committee requested numerous documents from Kushner. Kushner's attorneys gave the committee many documents on November 3, but the committee followed up on November 16 with a request for many additional documents it said had not been produced.
In early November 2017, Kushner was interviewed by investigators from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office. Reportedly the interview focused on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. On December 1, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, as part of a plea bargain. Bloomberg reported that Kushner is most likely the "senior member of the Trump transition team," mentioned in Flynn's plea documents, who is said to have ordered Flynn to contact Russia.
Mueller is investigating meetings between Trump associates including Kushner and George Nader, an emissary representing the crown princes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In August 2016, Nader offered help to the Trump presidential campaign. In December 2016, Nader attended a New York meeting between the United Arab Emirates officials and Kushner, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon. Mueller is also investigating Kushner's possible ties to Qatar, Israel and China.
On January 18, 2017, Kushner requested Top Secret security clearance, using "Standard Form 86 (SF86): Questionnaire for National Security Positions".
The request omitted dozens of pertinent contacts with foreign officials, including the meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov. Failure to disclose pertinent contacts can cause security clearances to be declined or revoked, and an intentional failure to disclose can result in imprisonment. Kushner's lawyers said that the omissions were "an oversight", and that "a member of [Kushner's] staff had prematurely hit the 'send' button" before the form was completed.
By July 2017, Kushner had resubmitted his SF86, this time disclosing contacts with foreign nationals. This was the first time that government officials were made aware of the June 2016 Trump campaign-Russian meeting and Kushner's role in it.
On September 15, 2017, Carl Kline, the director of the personnel security office within the Executive Office of President Trump, recorded Kushner as having an interim Top Secret/SCI security clearance. Kushner and his wife were among at least 48 officials granted interim clearance giving them access to sensitive compartmented information (SCI): detailed accounts of intelligence sources and methods.
In February 2018, all White House staff holding interim Top Secret/SCI security clearances, including Kushner, were downgraded to Secret clearances, and Trump said that he would not intervene to grant Kushner a permanent security clearance. That day, White House sources said that part of the reason Kushner had not yet been granted permanent security clearance was that he was under investigation by Mueller.
On May 23, 2018, Kushner received permanent Top Secret security clearance.
In January 2019, Trump told the New York Times that he had not intervened to grant Kushner's security clearances. On February 8, 2019, Kushner's wife Ivanka also denied that Trump had intervened to grant her or Kushner's security clearances. However, on February 28, 2019, CNN (citing three anonymous sources) and The New York Times (citing four anonymous sources) reported that Trump had intervened to order the granting of those clearances. Reportedly, this is the first time a U.S. President has intervened in such a way.
^Pendergrass, Drew (March 9, 2017). "Becoming Jared Kushner". Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Kushner was vice president of 10 corporations as an undergrad, each of which operated as a part of Kushner Companies... Richard Stadtmauer, Jared Kushner's uncle and the only other vice president ... listed in publicly available documents, was convicted of felony tax fraud in 2009 and sentenced to 38 months...
^Pincus, Adam (August 2012). "Tallying Who Won at 666 Fifth Avenue". The Real Deal. Archived from the original on February 1, 2017. The Real Deal created a scorecard estimating how much in profits (or losses) all of the parties involved in 666 Fifth Avenue have walked away with. o Kushner Companies. Retail: Estimated profits of about $100 to $120 million. Office: Estimated current loss ... of more than $200 million.
^ abcChung, Juliet (May 3, 2017). "A Tech Startup's Major Investors". The Wall Street Journal. p. A2. Kushner co-founded Cadre in 2014... To get off the ground, Cadre turned to a Goldman Sachs fund and a number of high-profile investors... Cadre also secured a $250 million line of credit from the family office of George Soros... Soros' family office is also an investor in Cadre.Missing or empty |url= (help)
^Sorvino, Chloe (December 18, 2016). "Here's How Much Jared Kushner and His Family Are Really Worth". Forbes. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Josh ... and Jared also cofounded Cadre, an online platform for investing in real estate, in 2014. Two years later, it raised $50 million from a group of big-name investors including Goldman Sachs ... billionaire George Soros's private equity firm and Russian billionaire tech investor Yuri Milner.
^Bertoni, Steven (November 22, 2016). "Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump the White House". Forbes. Archived from the original on May 4, 2017. Kushner went to a private Jewish high school and then to Harvard (a 2006 book about college admissions would later single out Kushner as a prime example of how children of wealthy donors get preferential treatment...).
^Daniel Estrin (March 25, 2017). "Trump son-in-law's ties to Israel raise questions of bias". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2019. Jared Kushner's personal links to Netanyahu, and his family's deals with major Israeli companies, could undermine US Mideast peace efforts ... Kushner and his family also have longstanding personal ties to Netanyahu. At a White House news conference last month, Netanyahu joked that he has known Kushner since he was a boy.
^Overby, Peter (April 25, 2017). "Watchdog Group Sees Conflicts in Jared Kushner's Vast Wealth, Responsibilities". NPR. Archived from the original on May 4, 2017. By Democracy 21's analysis, Kushner faces two huge conflict-of-interest hurdles... The legal hurdle involves China... The federal conflict-of-interest laws cover not only Kushner's own holdings but also his spouse's holdings - in this case, trademarks and other business activities in China.
^ abDrucker, Jesse; Lipton, Eric; Haberman, Maggie (April 1, 2017). "Trump's Family Still Benefiting from Businesses". The New York Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on May 8, 2017. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner ... will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business, ... according to ethics filings... The filing ... does not provide information on his business partners or lenders to his projects. His real estate firm has borrowed money from the likes of Goldman Sachs...
^Nakashima, Ellen; Entous, Adam; Miller, Greg (May 26, 2017). "Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 27, 2017. Retrieved 2017. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.