Behind Closed Doors At Kushner Inc.


When I came to Washington, I had a very successful business career had extensive holdings. I disclosed all my holdings to the office of government ethics and what I did with that. Is they told me what to divest what keep what rules to follow? The president's daughter and son-in-law or among several White House officials targeted by the house oversight committee as it Bove's irregularities in the security clearance process. My father agrees with me on so many issues, and where he doesn't he knows where I stand. I think most of the impact I have over time. Most people will not actually no. Hello and welcome to Trump cast. I'm Virginia Heffernan. So you will know that Trump Kaos has a special friendship with beat reporters journalists political analysts, and of course, everyone's favorite f f peas former federal prosecutors. These are the kind of middle class types who went to Cornell or the university of Wisconsin or Stanford and those who in general play by the rules and don't go to yacht parties or the Oscars unless it's for a very worthy documentary or inaugurations or devas. So from the usual, Trump cast guest, you get a view of the president from a crowd. That's still kind of horrified and mystified at people who stash money in the Cayman Islands or go big game, hunting and Africa, or by yachts for five hundred million dollars at first sight, m b s really did that and there's a huge use to that middle-class point of view. I mean, it's my point of view, and it's kind of prudish it's a little leg Jimmy Stewart. And it's good for reminding us all the time. Time the cheating on taxes, and wives and dodging the draft and paying to get into college. Well, that's just not right. That's my Jimmy Stewart impersonation. But lately, we've had another group on the show, namely, a few stylish society page figures who do spend time on yachts and do know billionaires, and who are no stranger to getting a preview of a selene fall collection. Say no resentment here, I'm thinking of Molly Jong fast on the last show and Nina Burleigh who wrote Trump's women and my guest today. Vicky ward. Now, I love these writers, and I find them very necessary. And I want to tell you why remember on Leon Nathe cts first season of the podcast slow-burn on slate. The one about Watergate how the Attorney General John Mitchell's wife. Martha Mitchell was one of the chief Watergate truth tellers, it's because she was so close to the action. She knew the scene she had nothing to lose. And she had accessed like no one else now, sometimes you. Don't need scolds like me saying, hey, no, one should buy an ostrich coat Paul Manafort, that's just selfish greedy, you need people who are kind of to the manor born and yet eagle-eyed highly educated and sharp-tongued an unafraid to tell the truth. Now, these people also dress beautifully and slip right into lunch at the four seasons. And they're also just very very funny. Tina Brown mild, Boston an old boss of my guest today introduced me to this cast of journalists. She knew that you try to take some of us schlumpy reporters to report on the rich and no one talks to us. But when these well-dressed people go right in see their friends and get the quotes, they sometimes even get away with it because they're so likeable. So we've had Anthony cormier on the show before from BuzzFeed he has a very gritty background and is comfortable with outlaws. So the outlaws and Trump's orbits to confide in him will now we have someone who draws the opposite part of Trump's set Vicky ward, she gets the ones who wanna do all the things like gossip. And be seen and talk on serious matters of geopolitics and art, and maybe even with Vicky be able to refer to some furrier in Dubai, and at least be understood Vicki is simply amazing at getting people around the trumps and the Kushner's to talk. And Kushner Inc is a heavily sourced potboiler about Jared, Nevada that solved many open questions for me. I really hope you'll read it. Vicky. Welcome to Trump cast Hanky Jinya is Vince along since we less so each other last talked. I know I can't even remember when I think Miami block together at two magazine. Right. That's exactly where I'm hoping to start. Which is I learned from Tina Brown, our boss at talk magazine certain principles about investigative journalism that have never left my mind. And I think you bring to bear on the subject of the Kushner's, I'll tell you them as much as I remember them. I she said investigative journalists need resources because enterprise is so expensive. You know that also needs an institution that her back. Back because you can get in tough situations with people trying to intimidate you. And you need someone who backstops that you need fearlessness. You have that you didn't elegant turn of phrase you have that. And last you need access and Tina is. So no bullshit that she just really thought that access was the sort of cynic coin on of a good investigation and often the most allusive so how in the world. Did you get access to the Kushner's? Well, my mother went said, you can never know enough people. Right. I think really my reporting began I didn't even know I was going to do the Burke this coin in new you'll come and you have to remember the Geneva before I wrote this. My last vote was what about the world of New York real estate? Yes. And so the the Kushner has won a direct focus of that. Donald Trump was in it. I interviewed him to that book. And I've known him quite well over a decade. He did not like I have to say. Well, I read about it in that book because I was studying. Story of a building a building in a building that he wants to buy didn't get in. But the culture that the Kushner's and the Trump's operate in was their full very familiar to me. I hadn't come across Jared on Vancouver socially in New York. When Jared bull the Neo observer, I on his list of people he wanted to meet say in the book, you know, Howard Rubenstein, this PO guru gave the cushion is three point plan to rehabilitate their family name off to Charles Kushner went to jail. The fuss was divide the trophy building. The second one was to buy a newspaper the sod was to have Jared dates among prominent, but the buying of the newspaper was not just about controlling media. It was too. Enervate, him socially. And I guess I was then working for Vanity Fair. And he thought to be useful to know me. So I had run into them a bit. But then didn't autocell escora in the summer of two thousand sixteen when Jared Vancouver beginning to really get involved in the Trump. Campaign and everyone's great surprise. Trump was the Republican candidate oppressed. What was really surprising that this? I came up with the idea of profiling the cushion of brothers Jared on his younger, brother. Josh the venture capitalist. Yeah. Full s Kwa J failed in the editor is old friend of mine, and he was looking to revamp the magazine, and I had suggested the cushion brothers as a sort of cover story. It was going to be not a puff piece because I don't do those. I still that these two successful attractive men in the right age for the s escort demographic. They will ask 'rational figures about by the time. I got to reporting it because I had written the book on real estate the reporting on Jared was very easy for me to do it. It took like a mooning to cooler on. I'm what I discovered really surprised me because he had always presented himself as a very stuffed Spokane nice sympathetic passan. But what I learnt during that reporting was that Jared could be very vindictive on really unpleasant that was another side to him, for example in that piece. I reported how he had sort of into fitted with real estate policy of a different Fum W P pay which was advertising conglomerate because he knew his friends with the then CEO Martin Sorrell when they're real estate group makes decisions go onto their boat and go to prove to do something things that Jared disagreed with the. Awesome. Could come in to w p pay. This is a huge enormous. Be most of the fun any walked into the meeting, and he renamed the head of that relegate group and told him that he should be fun. This is a young guy the teas, and this is not his business. It was really extraordinary. It showed a very very unpleasant side of him. And what was even more audible was that? When this piece came out eventually got on the phone to J failed in cried J still through the TIs Jared, then go David Lauren. Ralph Lauren son, Jesus if oh not on the implica-. He was clearly embarrassed to be put in the middle of this. But the implication was we're going to use money to pull appetizing then Jarod told David carry then running hus- or that I'd fabricated lie DRAMs grit when we went through this. And we ran one correction we said the Kushner companies meets every Tuesday eighty s rather than eight. How are you gonna come back from that of that kind of correction is just a like on your feet? It was interesting. So mad antenna. Why would within really up because I really had the measure then of these two people I really felt that they would see people in disguise that they would not Attuel what they seemed this idea that they was sophisticated counterparts to their fathers. You know, the moment that Vancouver started. Then during the transition flashing her bangle that we will by thousands of dollars or ten ninety five at TJ Maxx, dependent waited right? But you'd have some in the transition said to me, even though she pulled us when you can't on see it, you know, to your point about access. What was so interesting. The genius. Is that what I found was that everybody wanted to two-leg about these two. What was really interesting? It wasn't just the Republicans who felt that these two were in the way of their agenda was all the more left-leaning people around. So the Gary coons of the world who really had problem with the Essex who really felt that these two people had not gone into the government for the. Right reasons of Fatima little all the conflicts of interest that surrounded that lack of proper divestiture created real real problems and Tom's all what guided Jared in terms of his domestic policy making you. I talk about the questions. Gary cones concerns about healthcare list with Jared just in there to help his brother's company. Let's actually dive into Oscar because I save that for the end of the questions because you have to be a real obsessive to care about this part of things. But I I'm one of them like you Jared's, brother. Josh some people. Call him the good Kushner that doesn't mean that he doesn't live in. He's a venture capitalist. So how good is he? But what amazed me in your reporting is I had no idea that a company that he's I don't know exactly what share of Oscar. He owns but Oscar is one of the properties that he's very successfully invested in. It's a app driven healthcare service that evens it. Evens it. I mean, he could founded co founded it, okay? And Joel Klein is on the board. Right. And he's the person. I I heard of it from. I'm actually an Oscar subscriber I'm very happy with the service. But I had no idea that it was the Oscar families most highly valued asset it is. Yeah. Two point seven billion amazing. And so that family rises or falls. It is not something that is underwater like six six six Fifth Avenue or some of their showpiece places. It's chugging along and growing. Yes. But only the Jinya. Yeah. As long as a bomb Casse days, amazing or something that's predicated on state exchanges. Right because I can tell you that Jared Kushner, the idea of a single payer system once came up, and he didn't like that. I mean that would be the most dramatic overhaul of healthca, and it was not that he didn't like that. And people wondered if he didn't like that because it wouldn't benefit Jewish. But then on the other hand, he's certainly not with the right wing either. And this is where Gary Cohn comes in. I mean and Steve Bannon. Counter voices that Bannon on the one hand says we've got to live up to the campaign promises to build the wall and shutout Muslims and repeal and replace ObamaCare gets tricky. I think that Jared what guy notice, for example, the travel ban will that when Gary Cohn that was kept sort of tight seat because Bannon wanted the atom into surprise. And you remember that they were ruled out to dinner offense dinner, I think on the Saturday night and Jared, actually surprisingly. Nope, tub by it and said come on Jared. You know, this is outrageous. I mean, come on we're limits from the second generation yet and Jarrett was not the president campaign did nothing he could do the program was that. Then if I Instagram to picture of herself in Jared all dressed up in black tie be jitney. They go Hammett. So to let them eat cake. Then there were ju- member. It was apple crowd. I mean, it was dreadful. Also heard dress was like the same color as those heat blankets that they gave the kids at the border something. So there was perfect me m- opportunities. Yes. So this really gets to the crux of it. It didn't seem like it was the policy itself that cruise jarred an advantage to object. They didn't like the way they then came across. It was an only often will you know, that all about messaging. She has this famous quote that she said, you know, perception is more important than reality, though, is only often they go negative feedback passing ni that then Bannon notice she started to say, no, we we'd go to fix this. But what was her real motivation? And I think that's what I try to uncover in the book. Yes, it's talk about that. For example, the expansion of the chalk had tax credit. I think we would log use it. That was a good thing the difficulty with it is it seems so sell solving we'll have brand and she got that impact. While she still owned have fashioned brand even that many ethics. But said said when you go into the White House you supposed to divest at everyone had noticed that everytime. She met will go on the cool with a foreign leader suddenly trademarks from these companies with as from from these countries with seventy pay so have fashioned brand. Yes. You could also pretty much click on the outfit and put it straight in your cart. If I remember at the same time. She's busy sort of know being finished chocolate dots credit expansion own. Naval is employing these absolutely opponent labor practicing. Again, it doesn't feel spend tick. No, it does heighten the lips of is manufactured peel one thing. You get out. You remind us and had even still more details on Kushner as kind of among the first of the modern admission scandals he's in that golden book, and I wanna give some credit to where he went to high school Frisch, which is the Hebrew day school in New Jersey. They. Probably have every interest in making it clear that he went to fresh and you got into Harvard, and they have good rates, but they from the beginning at fresh of said, this is a travesty in didn't get the grades. And he didn't get the SAT scores and never should have gotten into Harvard. It interests me that they will go that far on it. But when you point out that he was it's a tracking system at fresh. Yes. Says yes, I was buried kaffa within approaching to understand. So I spoke to someone in his class who is into the track and across one hundred twenty roughly five tracks, and he was in the Sud. So actually, it's possible that his grades might have been okay. Because thought was gray two different. Okay. That's why I don't talk about his grades. But what this person was very clear on was that no one from the truck at fresh went to any IB leaks school, certainly not Harvard. And when this person did not get in. She cried in the first rank right in the first. I am not I need that the teachers cried. I mean, it is it is very demoralizing. Right. Very very very ano-. So as I say in the book what I had no rain is till I reported is that just Kushner didn't even write the check himself. It was a cushion to companies check I learned that from your book to that's amazing. Because by then Charlie was in the practice of doing the thing. The only seem to understand real estate companies always do which is just have a million LLC's with weird names. And I do some kind of shell game of moving money around. How did he do that? You know, he had a lot of help from his brother in Newell who was also sort of in charge if the money, but it would they were in it together. I mean, his brother endure also ended going to jail, but what happened was that Charlie felt that he was self appointed leader of his siblings, and that he had made so much money for all of them that he was therefore entitled to spend it without asking them or any of his other partners. In a way that he thought would benefit cushion of family name. Now, what he wanted to do was pay full politicians, particularly Bibi Netanyahu and fulltime cost one hundred thousand dollars each time. He came to speak on their Senate, mostly mostly Democrats partitions who could be helpful to Charlie famously. He gave more than anyone else to New Jersey. Governor Jim mcgreevey, the problem was that you know, he didn't ask his siblings. He just took the money from these LLC's as they started to find out particularly his brother Murray, they were extremely annoyed mar sued Charlie and at some point was a private civil case was blown into the public sphere on Chris Christie than than new New Jersey. US attorney started to pay attention. Chiefly because he still Charlie Kushner is a way to get Jim mcgreevey at chic this is when it gets old very very very nasty because the feds restart to Harrow so things. About Chani cushion, his private life that he definitely did not want out in the public domain. And I think that's part of his thinking. That's why he retaliates. It's not just he snaps that. He he tries to kill us. So furious with his siblings supposing him like this that he he does this terrible thing where he, you know, highs a prostitute and sets up his brother in all films it and then sends it to his sister raves pretty rough. And you do a very nice job setting up. The how the Kushner self preservation or self aggrandizement any means necessary. That's a legacy of what happened to them in the holocaust, and what they did emol cost because the family had an astonishing. They're very few stories of this much, ingenuity and heroism by suffering Jews. So tell us that story, I think that's really key. Does the reason that they disdain rooms so Jared grandparents if they had fun owed? Ooh. Odors, it'd be dead. And I I think that that is really important to understand the mentality hair on the sort of awful reasons. Terrible reasons behind it that in the holocaust rate Kushner, and she was Boone Kushner, a husband within Tate. Honey name was rounded up in a ghetto. Embattled ru snap Poland. And she didn't just survive the Hongkou she had to fight and fight in. They built a tunnel to escape the night that they went through the tunnel brothers glosses fell off and he was shot and killed avenue with very herring. She still assistance mother shot and Trump to having terrible. She then joined a group of juice surviving in the woods in extreme cold. I'm one of them Joseph would become husband. But even then even when the war ended. It wasn't ova. I it took them. He is. A trekking is to get to Brooklyn. And then to New Jersey. So that really was this sense of you. Never wait. You don't follow the system because the system is dangerous. You know, one of the family members talk to me and said, you know, that's why you know, you don't wait to be accepted by haulage. You make sure that you get into home. The family motto is think like an immigrant act like an immigrant really think about what that means. There's an amazing story. You have in the book that I think makes us point about early on when the Ivanka Trump collection markets for were drying up, partly because grab your wallet movement and people just object to her and thought that one way to sort of boycott Trump's was not to buy her stuff. And I think Neiman stop carrying it. And Trump was mad about that. And then Kellyanne Conway went on TV and just openly. Florid Lee promoted Ivanka Trump's clothing company, which was roasts ethical violation. Yeah. Hatch act violation. I think remember learning that. And then though Ivanka went to her father for help on this. I'm interested because that contains Ivanka's relationship with Kellyanne Conway, and who's classy and who's not telling me the whole thing. Right. So van went in and in front of a rhythm for of people. So this is not a private conversation. She had a meltdown and sort of accused, you know, have very furious with Ken. John sort of embarrassing and really she. So to the was out of control and have fog have fought. The just looked at her and said, you know, Honey, calmed down you sell shoes roof and to do that in front of white has stuff. I mean that is very public rebuke in that is where he shows that he still has the whip hand he's analyze the money, and he's not pushed around by her. I think there was a lot of buying from media. Maybe that wanted to believe this. But that she would be the over the whole moderating voice. He went on TV. I think it as she said, you know, I speak to him in private. But guess what? She tells end. I mean, Gary Khan Baixa a when the powers climate accord said, you know, if I am running around getting people like Jamie Dimon getting all these business ages into the White House to try and talk to your father. I'm getting at. Ads in baked in in the Wall Street general wherever but what would be most helpful is. If you could just go into to him say come on, you you you go to not you gotta stay in the Paris climate accrued, and she looked at him. And she said. I can't do that. And I think that if you just if you look at Trump's policies, she said, no impact he's done. Exactly what he's wanted today. Yeah. Okay. So do you remember, and this was not a big moment in any news cycle? But for some reason, I saw I watched a tape of Avante and her father on a hot Mike by accident before the Republican national convention, they they were just discussing like the font size on the teleprompter. And it was almost like one of those marriage analysis where you know, it's not gonna work if certain things happen because I thought he just was Gaga for her. And he would do anything she said, but she kept making small suggestions about how to organize the teleprompter that seemed perfectly reasonable, and he just said no to every single one which surprised me. And no in like mean dismissive way, like he always did on the apprentice, he doesn't surprise me. One of the things that you know, I notice I pulled all the depositions that Trump children. Have ever given. Because it would be interesting to see how they talked about the way the Trump will you know, how how they still that rolls in the Trump who denies -ation. And what was so interesting. You see how they really have no independent decision making power. They have to go to that father. The absolutely everything, you know, I'm one of the points that Leonard stun who's a rival, you know, he's another billionaire who's been a sort of rival in an enemy of Trump's for many decades in New York, but he does understand so to into generational wealth on how most families manage it pointed out to me is that Donald Trump gives his children relatively little equity in the real estate projects, regardless of how much they pretend to for example. If Vancouver was the one who did most. Of the heavy lifting in Washington. What's now, the Trump hotel, but Trump Donald Trump only gave each of the the kids the three at the three. Eric, Don, Ivanka seven percent of the equity. So no wonder if I was trying to flog that fashion brand the ha the upside of the economics of the fashion brand would have be much greater. Then what of what she has in the Trump organization end at the end, they're all trying to get whole with this presidency. I mean, every single one of them it mean, it seems like the chief policy initiative is well, either to obstruct Justice or to line the pockets of the Kushner's Trump's it's crazy. I mean, they just there's so Pflieger in about it. It's an embarrassment to all of us. It's a heavy embarrassment to see this happening talk a little bit about six six. Yeah. Because that in a way, I feel that in all the coverage of our had wonderful coverage. But but. This is most important story nine. Yeah. And in a way, it's it's kind of been missed that either. Jared goes in to this administration with the clock ticking. And this six six six it wasn't just the one point four billion debt needed repaid. This building would have cost the Kushner's Fafa more than that. Because of the taxes that would have been due on sale the recapture tax. It was financially a huge huge albatross to them an either time Jared goes into the administration. No American lender would touch it with a fifty foot pole. So he was heavily reliant on foreign lenders in you know, that gets you into all sorts of you know, we haven't emoluments clause issue, basically kennel be bride. So that is why his foreign policy making in the dog is. So so dangerous uncertain troubling is what he does is. He basically tells Rex Tennyson I'm taking the. Middle East away from me, he starts having all these correspondences not just with NBS the future crown prince of Saudi Arabia with everyone in that region. NBC the crown prince abudazi, maybe the Qataris and no one in the State Department or defense will national security of any idea what's going on. So no one for example, knew that Chani Kushner had met with the finance minister of Qatar in Austin outright for billion dollars to save this building in the spring of the administration being ton downing. Meanwhile, Jared is pushing the president at C pushing this the maintenance state the US would never have made its first official visit to Saudi Arabia if it weren't for Jared. He pushed Trump to go to country that does not exactly I share democratic values with us at the summit. The Qataris long had a a rivalry with Saudi Arabia noticed that they are there ignored their slighted. Arad has already given them a private remaining that nobody knows about the turning his father died. This summit remembers post to be all about cooperation in the Gulf working together ten days after it over and Jared, meanwhile, has had a private meeting with the Vancouver an M B S that nobody knows what happened there because no government officials went with them. Ten days later, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis at an event in Australia and to their horror. They learn that the Saudis and Mirages Egypt in Bahrain blockading catcher. Well, the where we America I'm American have an ethics that is awesome curiosity risk in the region. Not only that Saudi Marashi troops will on the Qatari border. Rex Tillerson knew immediately that this was Jared. Jared had given the green light to FDA or even encouraged him. Right. I know absent I mean, the NBS sort about money. I mean, they'll tell you it's about Iran, but it's actually M B S. It's what about money that could catch. Are is a tiny kingdom, it is vulnerable its owner notion, but it's very very rich. It's richer than Saudi Arabia NBS. The wool is. Brutal war in Yemen has been very expensive and he wanted money. And when the blockade actually didn't wrote the Qataris were better able to withstand it than he had expected. That is why he executed his rendition plan again after another meeting with Jared Kushner with no one accompanying Jared, Kushner, he rounded up everyone six of the seven rooting branches in Saudi Arabia. The only bronze he didn't round up and imprison and promised an basically extort his own Rex Tillerson said to Jared, Jared, don't you think it's the typically unlikely that his own family are the only ones who are not corrupt. Jared didn't wanna know. He was busy getting rid of Rex Tillerson getting having him five because he was an obstruction. The next thing that we know is that the Saudis arrive in America. An MBA doesn't like Trump asks NBS for another four billion dollars for the war in Syria. An NBA starts to drag his feet. So the Qataris then appear and they feel the money. Is there anything they have that can save them? And in a two week window. This these things happen with two within two weeks. It's announced that both the US is withdrawing its peut of the blockade and that Johnny. Kushner is going to be bailed out by a Canadian real estate firm Brookefield whose largest outside investor is cattle the Qatari investment with authority. So you can see why congress is busily discussing the thinking that they should investigate this mainly the Qataris come out and denied it live since my book came out of Geneva. I had a lot of suggestions lot of people starting to come out of the woodwork. Basically suggesting that the Qatar is fed up with denying that they had nothing to do with this deal us, they feel very pressured in extorted by Jared Kushner, so what's the space that is fascinating. So people even they're willing to testify to congress about it. Are they say we have a we have a long way to go. When you have to remember that there is. Also large of fear because because right now all government is run like a family rinse state business. I'm Jared Kushner is quite capable of getting on a plane and going over to the region, and we will have no idea what he says what he does. The debate about whether Trump himself is crazy or crazy like a FOX whether he's stupid or whether he has Rick Wilson site, the kind of feral intelligence, right? And Jared is just something else. I keep going to the he's number three tier at his Hebrew day school, and it should be noted. My kids are in Hebrew day school and the schools will take anyone because it's a very particular taste to have to want to go to Hebrew day school moves parochial school. So they make allowances for learning disabilities and different learning styles. So the point is being third. There is pretty much like, you know, getting a C and that is hard. If you have every advantage of tutors and everything else. It's like the kids that had to cheat their way into school in spite of having every advantage in this admission, scalable, the point is is it possible as Jacob Weisberg says as other people have said that Jared is actually like he would not score well on. An intelligence test. Like, he's just not a bright person. He's not crazy like a FOX. He's not smart and some special different way. He just isn't intelligent is that possible stream need possible yet and the the when you go to the middle Middle East. I mean, even have sort of a banal conversation can end out with extremely dramatic action. It it's totally different frame of reference. I think that's why security on intelligence agencies are so horrified at of Jarque Schnitt running round because it's like it's like a kid, you know, sandbox, I mean, somebody who would have no sort of real comprehension of the consequences of the actions mean we see again. And again that Jared is somebody in a when he was in his real estate firm. He didn't know his numbers cold, see. Found in noticed on the campaign. He he wasn't comfortable reading a spreadsheet. If one was being charitable one could say that his lack of focus on details lesson down with his security clearance. Yes. That's right. That's why he had to go back some record-breaking number of times on his forms because he kept forgetting a social security number. Whatever these intellectual shoot Cummings don't matter. Yeah. You'll running a family business in New York, but they really do master when it goes into government. And then when you take over off on policy, I feel as though Ivanka would be more sensitive to this in its CME as though Jared doesn't take in what to most people would be beyond mortifying, just cripplingly horrible. Which is that we have intercepts saying that the Saudis and various other countries believed that they have Jared in their pocket. So it's not as though. Oh, I'm just a great diplomat who can go to the Middle East and make all these friends. They are as Trump used to say about Obama wrongly, but they are laughing at Jared Kushner. Yes. And instead and the hubris blinds him, I don't know if you still it was a painful interview that he gave a with Noor Ingram. And when when she asked, you know, all you a risk or something about the security clearances he law, but there is absolutely nothing to laugh about. But right there you have the picture of an extraordinarily blind arrogance. I think that Advanta the State Department officials that I spoke to banker was clever when it when it came to this that she would be much more careful that that was a lot of inappropriate actions on hub hall. It was inappropriate to be on cools with foreign leaders to jump in with a fall that was inappropriate for hud's to even be in the room. Even she had a business that if you actually read a trend. Script of what she had said. They would be nothing incriminating on it. But Jared is callous Ariza recklessness there. And you know, let's see what happens so very rarely. When we talk about Trump, do I find us coming to the subject of ideology, because I've been persuaded over these years absent Bannon, Stephen Miller, there's no ideology, even a bad one at work for Trump that the supreme selfishness and greed are kind of his modus operandi, but the Kushner's are not without ideology. And this is why they had Benjamin Netanyahu to their house. Tell me about that. This is a huge point. And this is sort of in the book, and again, I thank you for raising it because it's really really important that. If you read the book, calf knee, you see that the grand chess master in all of this. The whole reason the person who pushed for America to soften its relationship with Russia. The person who's happy for jar to have this relationship with NBS NBC it all driven by BB Netanyahu, basically BB Netanyahu, his priorities shifted when a bomb signed the Iranian nuclear accord. So the Palestinian dispute was no longer his top concern, his top concern was Iran, and he had this belief, but no American security or intelligence expert that I've spoken to agrees with a tool, but he has this belief that if we cozy up to Russia that Putin will help get the Iranians out of Syria, the intelligence experts I've spoken to quit fantasy on ABC part. But that is what he believes. And that is why he for the first time Israel was prepared to strike out. What school the grand bogging Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and you know, Jared turn to Saudi Arabia with the her. He had, you know, don't assigns in his eyes. He sold. He believes that MB s will help finance his peace plan as well. As who knows what else? So I think that you cannot. Underestimate. This is oh driven by BB Netanyahu. The question is, you know? Sorry in seven days, Israel has an election and very interesting. See what happens to be Netanyahu nearly the cat with nine lives, but we should say if n facing his own corruption charges, of course, which why he's the good mate for the Kushner's. I realized that they've triangulating made Iran. The enemy we had adamant to some the show year and a half ago or something talking about the new world disorder where Iran is the enemy and their strange, bedfellows everywhere. Israel and Saudi Arabia working together. But how did Jared Kushner go from being the son of someone who said a mom blog pen was Nazi paraphernalia to married to a girl of partly German, obstruction extraction, a gentile and then to palling around with M B S having what everyone for awhile fondly called a bromance with the Saudis. I mean, we have a Muslim ban on the one hand. And then this kind of. Sick relationship between Jared and NBS that results in some really ominous things and there, of course, the main architects of nine eleven so how does something I mean, just how did these things. Get flipped all around. I feel like I sort of understood things and sort of knew who everyone's enemy was. And then they changed it up on us in the last couple of years, and it comes back to this being this is not normal this being a New York Renner state family business this business. That's how you have to look at it, Jared Kushner views the Middle East, basically is Christina run you can invoke Iran or whatever. But at the end of the day, this is what about money, and there's Sheldon Adelson plays a part in that to write. The major donor to Trump who is a casino operator, and is very close to Netanyahu and the Israeli government. I think his wife's Israeli that is also another way that this kind of nexus of I guess vaguely Zionist politics that, you know, wanna relocate the embassy that don't want a two state solution Netanyahu. Style politics that at least have some ideological coherence to it. And then all the looting in the Gulf, and in these places that by the avant Trump collection and love casinos astounding. It's just such a toxic combination. And again coming back to what we do that earlier that all driven by Johnny cushion, the passengers really in charge. A Jared is his father. Let's talk about no one seems CBS's interested in this as I am commes firing. I mean that everyone's interested in, but this one detail of Michael wolf's book stuck in my mind. He says that it was Charlie Kushner who really wanted Komi fired because Charlie Kushner's one of his prime directives is never go back to jail. And he thought if the FBI was sniffing around Trump that they would sniff around Kushner companies, and I hadn't heard anyone repeat that until I think his source might be Steve Bannon on that. This is Michael Wolff. I haven't heard anyone repeat that until you say in your book that Jared Kushner went to the mat? For the Komi firing now. And then he did an an I doubt I make a policy all of double Susan everything. Yeah. So the fact that I use the expression gung ho. That is not just from one peasant seat. Bannon certainly wasn't in the room. Jared, you know, made his impassioned plea to fire James Komi, but see Bannon was south Nino alone in that room guard Koon would have been around Ryan's previous would have been around that plenty of people who hard Jared. Do you think he was trying to protect his father? He was trying to protect them both because right around that time, the press had got wind of the fact that Jared had all these meetings with foreigners including the Russian ambassador and gluco, the Russian banker connected to the Kremlin and the hadn't put any of these meetings on his security clearance forms, so as you know, that that is narrowly that be considered a felony which to jail. So the way it was interpreted by the people. The room was that Jared was actually desperately trying to he wanted Komi gone Comey was then leading the investigation into possible collision between Trump Russia Cam. Sorry, rush, the Trump campaign, and you know, Jared was in the hot spot. He was trying to save himself. Right. The Russia investigation wasn't going well for him either. In general, these two realist giant real estate families. Don't really like the FBI at seems whatever reason. All right, one last question that ending on such as super premium solemn note is hard because of course, there's lots of physi- stuff in here too. But the six story the serious stuff is important here because Jared really has blood on his hands and in particular about the death of Jamaica Shoghi, I mean, he still has a top secret security clearance that we all but no from a whistle blower. He cheated to get he used that clearance as you say to endear himself to m B S to pretend that what he was doing was cracking down on corruption when he essentially jailed. His rivals. The other thing is the cuss Shoghi seems to have commented the day after the twenty sixty and election on Trump's policy toward the Middle East. He called it something so benign like incoherent, and for that was banned from Saudi Arabia moved to the US. And then we know the story he was a critic, but barely a critic of the Saudi government, and that Jared continued his friendship with NBS as he ordered the portrait murder of Jamal kashogi, and then stayed by his side as he covered it up. How do people talk about this? Now, you know you. You know, as I am the book, I say, Charles Kushner was apparently comfortable hiring prostitutes to set up his brother low film it, and then send it to his sister in Jared Kushner is apart need very comfortable cozying up to brutal dictators, he mud Washington Post journalists, and then he sits there silently and carrying on diplomacy and the dog negotiations with this, you know, with the modulus regime. I mean, let's just hope that they will get the congress can actually bring about some action when it comes to taking away his security clearance. One thing I do know are speaking to a former CIA operative yesterday that the CIA had our way how dangerous Jared is. Only intelligence agencies on the CIA have made very. Shoe to make sure he doesn't see what's cooled SEI better yet higher level that he absolutely doesn't see it. And they actually kinda make sure that Trump doesn't sit there giving him the bar letter version of the of the intelligence briefings, I've heard a bit of that too. It does seem unlikely the Darod is getting a lot of out of his briefings or really understands. I mean, if he was working behind the back of Tillerson and Mattis, he's not working off intelligence. He's working off as you say diplomacy on the dark in this kind of free styling that has been incredibly dangerous. I mean among the deaths in Puerto Rico the internment camps at the border. I think that kashogi, torture and death will really stay with us as heart of the body count. I mean, I think that you know, I talked about, you know, very jarring Ngong kissing. They can message your their reliance on public relations. I think they see Ray through anything. And I think that the Shoghi thing is. Proof that there are people are not Grint begets on it really bothers them. Vicky ward is the author of Kushner Inc. The extraordinary story of Jared, Kushner and Avangard Trump. Thank you so much for being here and eliminating so many of these details. Thank you. Thank you so much for having meal them. That's our show for today. Say Hello on Twitter, and tell us what you think we love hearing from you. I'm at page eighty eight the show is at real from cast and hey sign up for slate. Plus today is your day to become a sleep. Plus member is very elite, and it only costs thirty five dollars for the first year. And that opens up a world of podcast wonder you get from past all of slates podcasts ad free. Also, get a ton of digital swag. Go to slate dot com slash Trump cast fluff. Our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan with help from merit Jacob. I'm Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump cast.

Coming up next