GOP Oversight Chair Refuses To Probe Kushner's Mideast 'Influence Peddling'

GOP Oversight Chair Refuses To Probe Kushner's Mideast 'Influence Peddling'

Jared Kushner at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

Last year House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer acknowledged former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner had “crossed the line” when he accepted $2 billion in foreign investment funds from the government of Saudi Arabia as he started up a private investment firm just months after leaving the White House.

Now, Rep. Comer (R-KY) says he will not open an investigation into any possible wrongdoing, Huffpost reports, despite top Democrats alleging Kushner engaged in “apparent influence peddling and quid pro quo deals.”

On Tuesday, the top Democrat on Comer’s Oversight Committee, ranking member Jamie Raskin, and Democrat Robert Garcia (D-CA), the ranking member on the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs, formally requested Comer “convene a hearing regarding Jared Kushner’s apparent influence peddling and quid pro quo deals involving investments in exchange for official actions and to examine the resulting threats to our national security.”

“This Committee cannot claim to be ‘investigating foreign nationals’ attempts to target and coerce high-ranking U.S. officials’ family members by providing money or other benefits in exchange for certain actions while continuing to ignore these matters,” Raskin and Garcia wrote. “We therefore urge you to work with us to finally investigate Mr. Kushner’s receipt of billions of dollars from foreign governments in deals that appear to be quid pro quos for actions he undertook as senior White House adviser in Donald Trump’s Administration.”

The American people are deeply concerned about these business dealings and Mr. Kushner’s apparent influence peddling. We must address

those concerns with a fair, impartial, and public process to understand the truth and to institute meaningful reforms to safeguard public confidence in our executive branch.”

The two Democrats in their letter say their “request comes in light of allegations that Jared Kushner is pursuing new foreign business deals, just as Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency. Last year, well before these new allegations came to light, Chairman Comer had already conceded that Jared Kushner’s conduct ‘crossed the line of ethics’ and promised that the Oversight Committee would ‘have some questions for Trump and some of his family members, including Jared Kushner.'”

Raskin and Garcia paint a picture of “Kushner’s pattern of profiting off of his time in the White House.”

Citing The New York Times (apparently this article), they write, “Jared Kushner was closing in on investments in Albania and Serbia, leveraging relationships he built during his time as a senior adviser in his father-in-law’s White House. Reportedly, Mr. Kushner is considering an investment on the site of the former Yugoslav Ministry of Defense.”

“Mr. Kushner is reportedly being advised by Richard Grenell, another former senior Trump Administration official who served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany and, concomitantly, as ‘special envoy for peace negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo.’ Mr. Grenell reportedly ‘pushed a related plan’ for redevelopment of the same site during his time in the Trump Administration.”

“In pursuing investment opportunities in Albania, Mr. Grenell and Mr. Kushner have been openly leveraging their relationship with Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania. While Commander-in-Chief, President Trump received unconstitutional payments from Prime Minister Rama and other senior Albanian government officials who spent thousands of dollars at theTrump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., over three separate stays,” Raskin and Garcia write.

They also allege, “Mr. Kushner successfully overruled State Department officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to make President Trump’s first foreign trip as President to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kushner personally intervened to inflate the value of a U.S.-Saudi arms deal and to finalize the deal President Trump signed, which was worth $110 billion. Mr. Kushner

also provided diplomatic cover and support to the Crown Prince after the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an American permanent resident and journalist. Mr. Khashoggi’s murder was assessed by American Intelligence to have been approved by the Crown Prince himself.”

Despite their extensive allegations, Comer is refusing to open an investigation.

“Unlike the Bidens, Jared Kushner has a legitimate business and has a career as a business executive that predates Donald Trump’s political career,” Comer said, as HuffPost reports. “Democrats’ latest letter is part of their playbook to shield President Biden from oversight.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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