Tag Archives: Jared Kushner

Tread carefully, Rep. Castro

Come on, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro. Just because some folks on the other side toss out unsubstantiated accusations, you do not have license to do the same.

Castro, a Texas Democrat, has said — without sources or evidence — that Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, might have had a hand in the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Castro doesn’t offer a shred of evidence to back up his contention, but he made it anyway in an interview with CNN.

Khashoggi was murdered by Saudis at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The Saudis say he died in a fistfight; the Turks, though, say he was dismembered while he was still alive. His body was cut to pieces and disposed of.

Now we have a U.S. representative alleging that Jared Kushner played a role in this?

Give me a break.

This kind of innuendo has gotten out of hand. CNN anchor Poppy Harlow had to remind Castro that no media have reported what he has alleged, but Castro answered with some vague response that there has been “some reporting” on it. He didn’t cite the source.

According to the Texas Tribune: “To be clear, I did not intend to accuse Jared Kushner of orchestrating the killing … But based on several press reports, the close relationship between Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman is a source of concern for the U.S. intelligence community and those of us who want a transparent American foreign policy,” (Castro) said in a statement to the Texas Tribune.

Read the Tribune story here.

This is ridiculous!

I am left to say only that Rep. Castro should be ashamed to be joining this game of gossip and innuendo.

Haley is out as UN envoy; let’s wait for the rush to replace her

Nikki Haley’s resignation as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations opens up a whole new round of speculation about who should succeed her.

I want to stipulate that I am unhappy to see Haley leave this critical post. She is a pro and she comported herself well as the nation’s top UN diplomat. I like the way she stood up to White House chief of staff John Kelly after he said she had gotten “confused” in announcing White House sanctions against Russia; her response: “I don’t get confused.”

Nikki Haley is a grownup in an administration populated by too many sycophants.

But here’s what I am waiting to hear. I am waiting to hear the president tell us of the dozens, maybe hundreds, of qualified applicants pounding on his door wanting to succeed Haley as the UN envoy. You see, he has this maddening habit of embellishing the reputation he and his administration have among career government employees.

The search begins

I have no doubt that Donald Trump will seek to oversell his administration’s standing as he seeks to find someone to replace Haley, who will leave her post at the end of the year.

I am chuckling at the chatter that his son-in-law Jared Kushner is among those who might succeed Haley. Even more ridiculous is that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, might get the nod.

If the president’s need to beat back the horde of applicants is true, then he should be able to find a top-tier, high-quality nominee to succeed Haley at the UN. If he settles on yet another sycophant — say, someone like Kushner or — God forbid — Ivanka, then we’ll know he is lying about that as well.

I’ll lament the pending departure of Nikki Haley in the meantime and wish her well as she takes “time off” and considers her next calling. A former two-term South Carolina governor who stood up to the Confederate flag proponents in her state and performed well on the international stage likely has a bright future.

Parlor game continues: Who wrote that op-ed?

Conservative commentator/gadfly/rabble rouser Ann Coulter believes she knows the author of that infamous op-ed published the other day in The New York Times.

She says it’s Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald John Trump. Why did Ivanka’s husband write it? She believes Jared and Ivanka think Daddy Trump will be kicked out of office and want to high-tail it to the Hamptons.

Fine. Whatever.

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell, a liberal/progressive/gadfly/rabble rouser, posited a notion that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats did it. He said Coats has nothing to lose; he’s holding his final public office and is miffed that the president keeps undermining him at every turn regarding the Russian attack on our 2016 election.

There you go.

Op-ed mystery deepens

Others have suggested someone on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff wrote it, inserting the “lodestar” term that the VP is fond of using.

Hey, this is all nonsense. I am becoming less concerned with who wrote it than I am with the content of the essay. It’s a devastating critique of the way the president governs. It speaks to the “resistance” within the West Wing that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

We’ll know eventually who wrote it. If the president’s team is allowed to ferret out the ID of the author, the name will come forward. Whoever wrote it will be canned, or he or she will resign.

Meanwhile, the parlor game continues. It does create grist for gossip. That’s all.

Peace seems to slip away in Israel

They dedicated the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem today.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was all smiles. So were Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. So was mega Republican campaign donor Sheldon Adelsen. And so were others in the large crowd.

But …

There was a good bit of unhappiness at this occasion. Palestinians died today while trying to enter Israel from Gaza. There were riots. Protests mounted all across the country and the region.

The way I see it, peace between Israel and the Palestinians appears farther away — not closer together.

Donald J. Trump vowed to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while he ran for president. Once elected, he delivered on the campaign pledge. This move, though, flies in the face of what most of our allies wanted.

Jerusalem happens to be a holy city for Jews, Christians and, oh yes, Muslims. Go to the Old City and you find it divided into four quarters (the Armenians comprise the fourth quarter of the walled city).

Inside the old walled city you find the Western Wall, the Church of the Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock. All three sites symbolize the three great religions I just mentioned.

The symbolism of the embassy relocation has inflamed tensions between Jews and Muslims.

Which makes me wonder: What in the world did the president expect would happen when the day arrived finally for the embassy to open for business?

Isn’t the presidential son-in-law, Kushner, supposed to be the lead guy on this peace initiative? How in the world does the region achieve the long sought after “two-state solution” with an independent Palestine function alongside Israel with this kind of violence erupting?

I am afraid today’s events have taken the world a large step away from peace in the Holy Land.

POTUS has yet another bad week; see ‘Jared Kushner’

How can we count the ways that the president of the United States can experience truly bad weeks?

This one has been a serious downer.

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, gets his security clearance downgraded because he doesn’t have the top-secret designation he needed to handle sensitive documents; Kushner is a high-end senior adviser in the Donald Trump administration.

There’s more.

White House communications director Hope Hicks resigned this week after telling U.S. senators that part of her job was to tell “little white lies” on behalf of her boss, the president. She said her testimony had nothing to do with her resignation. Sure thing, young lady. The president backed her up. But, hey, the timing looks so suspicious.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions got taken down by the president because the AG is using lawyers from outside his department to examine alleged bias in granting security clearances. Trump tweeted that Sessions’s actions are “disgraceful.”

Then, as a capper, Trump tweeted some gnarly remarks about actor/comedian Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of him on “Saturday Night Live.” So very “presidential,” yes, Mr. President?

All the while, it looks as though special counsel Robert Mueller is zeroing in on Trump’s potential collusion with Russian agents seeking to interfere in our election process, which Trump keeps denying.

Analyses keep suggesting that Trump has yet to get a handle on the mechanics of governing, the task of administering the executive branch of government, let alone hiring competent staff who can withstand the intense public scrutiny that goes with the job in Washington, D.C.

Has the president lost control of the “fine-tuned machine” he boasted about a month after his inauguration? It looks like it to me.

Chaos and confusion, folks? It’s all there. On full display. For all the world to see.

This is how you “make America great again”? Umm. I don’t think so.

Kushner still has no business doing what he’s doing

Say what you want about Jared Kushner, the young man certainly “married up.”

As the late President Reagan used to joke about his own marriage to Nancy, Kushner enjoys the perks of marrying well. Why, his wife Ivanka’s father used to be a mere billionaire business tycoon. Now he’s the president of the United States.

What did the president do when he took office? He brought his daughter and son-in-law into his inner circle, gave his daughter some policy advisory role and entrusted Kushner with coordinating our nation’s effort to find a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East.

A problem emerged. Kushner didn’t have the proper security clearance to handle the material he saw regularly. Hey, he had as much diplomatic and political experience as his father-in-law; that would be none.

White House chief of staff John Kelly this week reduced Kushner’s access to this material. He now is denied access to the hush-hush stuff he’d been seeing. That’s a good thing. It’s not enough.

Kushner needs to be shown the door. He doesn’t belong in the White House, let alone handling the work he’s been given.

However, as one former Trump campaign and transition insider put it, he is “Mr. Ivanka Trump.” Which means he’s got the job for as long he remains married to the president’s daughter.

Weird, man. Weird.

No dirt on Hillary? Really!

Let me try to keep this straight.

Donald J. Trump Jr. accepts an invitation to meet with a Russian government operative who tells him she’s got some dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States.

Don Jr. goes to the meeting along with his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, then the campaign chairman for Don’s dad, Donald J. Trump Sr., the Republican presidential nominee.

He meets with the lawyer/government operative. What does Don Jr. get out of it? He says nothing came of it. There was no dirt of any use to the Trump campaign.

In other words, Hillary was clean.

The story, of course, isn’t entirely that the Russians didn’t have the goods on Clinton; it is that Trump the Younger thought they did and that he “loved it.” He didn’t call the FBI to rat out the Russian government. Indeed, the only grownup from the Trump team — Manafort — didn’t bother to blow the whistle, either. Oh, no. Don Jr. was accepting “normal” opposition research — from a hostile government that was hacking into our electoral process, undermining our democratic system.

As for the Hillary story, the Russians came up with as much actionable dirt on the Democratic nominee as congressional Republican investigators were able to find over the course of several years. That would be, um, nothing, man!

What a coincidence!

Bush ethics lawyer: Why not give Putin clearance, too?

Richard Painter teaches law at the University of Minnesota.

He once served as ethics adviser to President George W. Bush, so his Republican credentials are well-known. However, he’s demonstrating that ethical conduct ought to ignore partisan consideration.

Professor Painter is furious, fuming, outraged over what he believes is a lack of ethical decorum permeating Donald J. Trump’s administration. Exhibit A: the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Painter believes Kushner should surrender his top-secret White House security clearance because of his numerous contacts with Russian government officials who might have been involved in that Russian hacking and their efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Painter said via Twitter that Kushner’s clearance needs to be revoked, but if the government is going to allow the young man to keep it, then it should just give one to Russian President Vladimir Putin, too.

Check out The Hill report.

Painter has been making the rounds for several months commenting on Donald J. Trump. He isn’t a fan. Perhaps he owes his antagonism to the president’s vocal criticism of President Bush’s handling of the Iraq War. It might have something to do with the insults that Trump hurled at the former president’s brother, Jeb, during the 2016 GOP presidential primary campaign.

Whatever. Professor Painter isn’t holding back.

I cannot blame him for demanding that Donald Trump seek to develop some understanding that “government ethics” need not be an oxymoron.

Ivanka steps in … way over her head?

Ivanka Trump went to work over the weekend with her father, the president of the United States.

Why, she even got to sit at the grownups’ table during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The presence of this unqualified individual at the table did not go unnoticed by many of Donald Trump’s fellow world leaders.

The custom at meetings such as this is for a head of state to summon a senior staffer or someone with some clout to sit in while “the boss” steps away. Does Ivanka fit that bill?

Does the first daughter have any expertise in, say, anything related to geopolitics or international economics? Let me think about that. Umm. No. None. Zero.

As Politico reported: “U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley defended the first daughter’s actions Saturday, stressing that she has focused on important issues like female entrepreneurship, poverty and famine.”

Politico went on: “‘She’s got her certain issues that she focuses on and when those things come up then that’s where she is,’ the ambassador said during an interview with CBS set to air Sunday, adding that the first daughter is ‘very well accepted nationally and internationally.'”

I think perhaps Ambassador Haley is spinning that just a bit.

Indeed, why couldn’t she have taken the president’s place at the table?

The president has placed far too much clout in his daughter’s hands. For that matter, he has done the same with Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, the young man with zero foreign policy experience but who now is entrusted to broker a Middle East peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Good … grief!

Ivanka’s brief stint at the G20 meeting serves only to demonstrate — yet again! — that her father doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Kushner, Ivanka get stiffed by POTUS/Dad

Just when you thought Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were deputy presidents of the United States, the actual president stiffs them on their staunch support of the Paris Accord aimed at dealing with climate change.

What gives? Oh, I think I know, actually.

The nationalist wing of the White House inner circle got to the president; it had his ear for the final time before announcing Thursday that he would pull the United States out of the worldwide alliance to fight the planet’s changing climate and the consequences it is bringing.

So much, then, for Ivanka and her husband’s legendary influence over the president. Frankly, I stand with them — and against Trump and his nationalist buddies — in this crazy development.

The president’s daughter and son-in-law weren’t alone in their support of the climate agreement. National security adviser H.R. McMaster wanted to stay involved; so did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; same with Energy Secretary Rick Perry. I should add, too, that a number of key Republicans in and out of public office wanted the president to stay the course.

No can do, he said.

The issue is American jobs, which the president believes would be lost because this country would work with other nations in seeking to curb the causes of global warming and climate change.

What … utter … crap!