Tag: jared kushner
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump

Financial Analyst Exposes Kushner's Unprecedented Saudi Grift

During Monday's segment of MSNBC's Morning Joe, economic analyst Steve Rattner left panelists astounded after providing an in-depth look into the root of ex-President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner's "$3.1 billion cash haul."

Rattner shared a chart displaying a breakdown of the sources of Kushner's money via Twitter Monday, writing, "Jared Kushner spent much of his White House tenure cozying up to MBS [Mortgage-Backed Securities] & Saudi Arabia. Six months after leaving Washington, his private equity firm landed $2 billion in investments from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund."

During the show segment, MSNBC host Jonathan Lemire noted how Kushner's "background in real estate" does not exactly qualify him "as a hedge fund magnate or peace broker in the Middle East."

"You're right, Jonathan. Jared Kushner did work in the White House," Rattner said. "He worked very hard. It's becoming less clear what he worked hard at, because after he left the White House, he went out and raised $3.1 billion -- that's billion with a 'b' -- for a private equity fund and he's not a private equity guy, he is a real estate guy. So where does the money come from? Some of it we know from filing. Some from press reports.What we know for a fact is that he raised $3.1 billion and only about $30 million of it actually came from investors in the United States all the rest of it is foreign money. And of that foreign money, $2 billion came from the Saudis."

The analyst emphasized, "I've been in this business 40 years. I've never seen somebody get two-thirds of their money from a single investor. Usually a single investor might be a few percent of the fund, might be 5 percent, occasionally 10 percent — I've never seen this. Another $200 million we believe came from Qatar and another $200 million from the United Arab Emirates and then the $625 million from foreign investors that we don't even know who they are. So what was Jared Kushner doing in the White House? And, by the way as a fun fact, on January 6, the famous January 6, Jared Kushner was in the Middle East."

Morning Joe panelist Elise Jordan then asked Rattner, "There's not much out there on how Jared has actually been able to execute his funding. He has all this money, but his background is not in private equity and I've seen only one news report of a small European investment. He's sitting on all this money. Are the Saudis investing with him just to hedge their bets politically in case Trump comes back into office?"

Rattner emphasized, "We haven't seen him do a lot with this money. He has hired some people, I do know that. I've seen nothing else about what he's actually done with the money. It is normal to invest this money over a period of several years, so I don't think we can draw a firm conclusion yet. But, again, we're going back to a guy who's a real estate guy, and frankly not a particularly good one at that, who's suddenly got $3 billion trying to do private equity deals competing against people who've been in this business for a long time. And I wouldn't, if I were the Saudis, count on making a lot of money from this any time soon."

Rattner concluded, "U.S. private equity firms still raise the vast bulk of their money from U.S. investors. This is extraordinary — unprecedented — I've never seen anything like it."

Watch the video at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As Biden Scandals Fizzle, Trump Family Grifting Still Sizzles

As Biden Scandals Fizzle, Trump Family Grifting Still Sizzles

Back when Rep. James Comer previewed his committee's blockbuster probe of President Biden, the Biden family, and their allegedly corrupt connections with foreign investors, someone asked whether he also intended to investigate the Trumps.

"With respect to investigating President Trump, there have been so many investigations of President Trump," retorted Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, during that interview last January. "I don't feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time investigating President Trump because the Democrats have done that for the past six years."

Yet perhaps now that the Kentucky Republican has dug around the First Family for several months and produced nothing but innuendo, he may wish to reconsider that free pass for the Trump family — whose money-grubbing on foreign shores is bigger than anything attributed to the Bidens by an order of magnitude.

Consider the humiliating spectacle of Comer's press conference on Wednesday, May 10, when the Indiana Republican excitedly presented what he has discovered about the Bidens, and specifically the president, whom he has accused repeatedly of "involvement" in tainted overseas business deals. Described in Politico as "highly anticipated," the big event was undeniably a bust. (Even Republicans said so.)

Despite a panting recitation of bank accounts held by the president's brother James Biden and his son Hunter Biden — as well as other family members who appear to have benefited from foreign partnerships and consultancies — Comer failed to produce any tiny scrap of evidence implicating Joe Biden. He could not show that any of the Bidens whose names he dragged had committed a single illegal act. He could not prove that the president knew or approved of any of his relatives' business or legal activities.

And Comer came up empty when asked what, if anything, those arrangements had to do with Joe Biden's official responsibilities as president or vice president — since all those deals appear to have occurred while he was no longer serving in the Obama administration, and before he ran for president in 2020.

Comer's performance provoked mocking reviews from Democrats and "the liberal media," as might be expected, but the response from the right was almost equally dismissive. Steve Doocy, the Fox & Friends anchor, complained that "you don't actually have any facts" to prove influence peddling by the president... of all those names, the one person who didn't profit is — there is no evidence that Joe Biden did anything illegally," as a visibly flustered Comer fumed.

Both Comer and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, his ally in the Senate, have promised revelations from a "highly reliable source" who, according to them, has disclosed bad acts perpetrated by the Bidens to the FBI. Unable to obtain any such incriminating information, however, Comer had little to offer when queried by Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, except that he and Grassley are determined to pursue "Plan B."

"What is Plan B?" she asked, then shot Comer an irritated glance when he replied, "Well, stay tuned, Maria. You'll be the first to know, I can assure you," and then descended into stuttering and muttering about "the deep state."

The plain fact is that these Republicans, like generations of their hackish ilk on Capitol Hill, spend enormous amounts of time and treasure fabricating conspiracy theories of corruption supposedly perpetrated by their political enemies, as they did with both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Remember Whitewater? Benghazi? Her emails? Actual corrupt conduct by powerful figures abusing public office for private gain seems to trouble them not at all.

We know that because as soon as Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his gang took control of the House, they put the boobish Comer in charge of government oversight. And Comer's first action as chair was to terminate the committee's ongoing probe of Trump's efforts to enrich himself as president and to release his accountants from their court-ordered obligation to produce the former president's tax records.

Even as the Biden "scandal" seems to fizzle, the Trump scandals may still sizzle. You will recall that the former president and his son-in-law Jared Kushner both have reaped juicy profits in their recent dealings with the Saudi regime, raising obvious implications for their conduct in the White House. Those questions may yet be examined in a broader probe to discover exactly how Trump violated the Constitution's emoluments clause during his presidential term.

Stay tuned, Maria.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Elon Musk Posed For Photos With Notorious Kremlin Propagandist In Qatar

Elon Musk Posed For Photos With Notorious Kremlin Propagandist In Qatar

Days after booting several journalists off Twitter, self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk attended the World Cup final in Qatar, where he posed for photos with an infamous pro-Russian propagandist Nailya Asker-Zade.

Asker-Zade, an infamous ally and propagandist for Russian despot Vladimir Putin, posted the selfie with Musk on her Telegram Monday, writing, "Argentina beat France on penalties in the World Cup final. I agree with Elon Musk's assessment of the match: 'A duel in the desert.’”

Of the polarizing figures in Russian media promoting Kremlin-inflected rhetoric on current events, including the war in Ukraine, Asker Zade, a 35-year-old reporter at the Kremlin-owned All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), is one of the most infamous.

Both Canada and the United Kingdom have sanctioned Asker Zade following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. One of many voices in Russian state media distorting facts about the invasion of Ukraine, she is “understood to be in a long-term relationship with Andrei Kostin, Chairman of VTB Bank [Russia’s second-largest bank],” according to the U.K. government.

Kostin and the VGTRK, the U.K. government noted in its sanction list, “[are] or [have] been involved in obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia by carrying on business as a Government of Russia-affiliated entity.”

Also an avid Trump supporter, Kostin allegedly amassed a personal fortune to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars during his tenure as VTB head — thanks to his close ties with Putin, per the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

In 2019, the Moscow Times reported that Asker Zade was suspected of being in a relationship with Kostin and had accumulated a substantial chunk of his wealth in the form of “elite property, a private jet, and a yacht” worth millions of dollars.

Her new toys, the outlet stated, attracted the attention of — and subsequent investigation from — the Russian Foundation Against Corruption group, headed by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Tech billionaire Musk, whose recent wave of controversies has been blamed for Tesla’s tumbling stock, was also spotted with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who reportedly secured a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia just six months after Trump’s ouster by American voters.

Musk, who has not responded to multiple requests for comments on his selfie with a conspiracy theory-peddling Putin mouthpiece, was also spotted with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Business Insider reported.

After a cascade of criticism, the Twitter CEO broke his hours-long silence about the outcome of his Sunday poll in which he asked the Twitterverse whether he should step down as leader of the social media website, which 57.5 percent of voters said he should.

Musk agreed with a right-wing account — as he has so often done recently in his expeditious right-ward shift — that fake accounts skew the results of Twitter polls, a suggestion he didn’t entertain when restoring Trump’s account.

“Blue subscribers should be the only ones that can vote in policy related polls,” the Twitter account suggested, to which Musk replied, “Good point.”

Ivanka Trump Tried To Dodge Her Court-Appointed Financial Monitor

Ivanka Trump Tried To Dodge Her Court-Appointed Financial Monitor

Ivanka Trump, daughter and ex-aide of former President Trump, tried and failed to keep her finances — and hers only — away from the prying eyes of a court-appointed financial monitor tasked with scrutinizing the Trump Organization’s transactions and those of entities connected to it, The Daily Beast reported Monday, citing anonymous sources.

According to the Beast, Ivanka Trump’s attorneys sent private letters to Justice Arthur Engoron, the New York state judge who ordered the financial supervision in the state’s ongoing lawsuit against the Trump company, asking to be exempt from the monitor’s scrutiny, a step her brothers, Don. Jr. and Eric, didn’t take.

Engoron summarily ignored Ivanka’s private plea and — in a bold ruling on Thursday — said the Trump Organization had just two weeks to provide "a full and accurate description of the corporate structure” to the monitor, retired judge Barbara Jones, giving her a window into the company’s “financial disclosures to any persons or entities."

The Trump family must also provide the judge a 30-day advance notice before moving any assets, Engoron ruled, citing the audacious founding of a Trump Organization II in Delaware, “the shell company capital of the country,” according to the Beast.

New York Attorney General Letitia James requested a monitor to supervise the Trump family company’s finances until her civil suit against the organization — the culmination of her three-year-long investigation into its business practices — goes to trial.

In her over 200-page-long filing, James’ office alleged widespread fraud by Trump, his company, and the offspring he made its executives — participants in an over ten-year-long effort to bloat the former president’s finances to get favorable loan agreements.

Seeking $250 million in penalties from the Trump Organization, in a motion filed last month, James asked for the company to be barred from offloading its assets ashore and conducting any kind of “significant fraudulent and illegal business,” ensuring that “funds are available to satisfy any disgorgement award.”

Ivanka Trump — who has sought to distance herself from her father’s political operations, most recently his announcement of a 2024 presidential bid— is a defendant in James’ suit even though her name hasn’t come up in recent court hearings, the Beast noted.

“I love my father very much. This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family,” Ivanka told Fox News, excusing her absence from her father’s announcement. “I do not plan to be involved in politics.”

In the Trump family’s attempt to stave off Engoron’s ruling via appeal filing, Ivanka’s lawyers made a personal argument to get her off the hook, saying that she had not been involved with the company for over five years.

“Ms. Trump submits this separate affirmation to set forth with specificity the reasons why the trial court erred in including Ms. Trump in the Order in her individual capacity… there was no legal or factual basis to issue the Order against Ms. Trump,” her lawyers argued.

“Ms. Trump has had no involvement for more than five years… Ms. Trump has had no role as an officer, director, or employee of the Trump Organization or any of its affiliates since at least January 2017… NY AG never intended to impose an injunction against Ms. Trump,” the attorneys added.

In her tenure as a White House adviser, Ivanka Trump raised myriad ethics red flags, and as a Trump Organization executive before that, she was — as described by James in a court filing for Ivanka’s refusal to testify in January — a "key player in many of the [Trump company’s] transactions."