Officials in at least four countries, including Israel and China, have held internal discussions over how to take advantage of presidential advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner’s inexperience and financial incentives in order to shape U.S. policy, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing current and former U.S. officials who had seen relevant intelligence reports.
The report also claims that national security advisor H.R. McMaster learned secondhand about contacts that Kushner had with foreign officials that Kushner did not coordinate or officially report to the National Security Council.
“The issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perception of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings,” the Post reported. Kushner and McMaster subsequently worked closer to coordinate foreign meetings.
While all countries discuss ways in which they can influence senior American officials, Kushner was seen internally as uniquely vulnerable to manipulation, due to his complex global business arrangements, financial difficulties within his family’s real estate business, and political inexperience.
Notably, members of the Kushner family have been seeking foreign funding to help with their looming $1.8 billion debt payment, due in January 2019, from its investment in a Manhattan skyscraper. Before President Trump took office, Kushner met with firms tied to the governments of China and Qatar to seek funding. Both of those groups dropped out in order to avoid charges of conflict of interest.
Kushner’s meetings with foreign officials — many of which he initially declined to include on his security clearance application — have reportedly been scrutinized by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Kushner has not yet been approved for a permanent security clearance. His interim clearance was downgraded from Top Secret to Secret by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday as part of a broader crackdown on access to classified documents.
Officials at the Israeli and Chinese embassies did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.