Trump Family Watch

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June 12, 2018
Turns out the couple may not have “sacrificed” as much as Jared’s dad claims.

So much sacrifice.
By Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images.

If you’ve been keeping up with the opinions of senior White House staffers’ parents, you know that Charlie Kushner, father of Jared, thinks his son has been treated extremely unfairly over the last 17 months. In a pair of recent interviews, Kushner the Elder blasted critics for blaming Jared for one of the worst real-estate deals in history and attacked federal ethics watchdogs, whom his son and daughter-in-law, Ivanka Trump, have kept quite busy while working in the West Wing. “Do you really want to know what I think of those jerks,” Charlie asked in response to a question from The Real Deal about whether or not Jared should have fully divested from the Kushner Cos., rather than retaining a financial stake the company. “I think they’re a waste of time. They’re guys who can’t get a real job, ethics watchdog? Who gets a job—ethics watchdog? Give me a break.” According to Jared’s dad, such people are a plague on society who just want to prevent “rich, smart, successful people from going into government” and “assure that [only] poor, not successful people go into government.” But what really gets Papa Kushner going is the fact that no one gives Jared or Ivanka credit for giving up everything to go into public service. “I look at what my kids have sacrificed to go into government, with the only intent of doing good for this country and for the world, and to help people,” he said. “And what they have sacrificed, and the daily barrage of negative media, and the attacks they get, and they had a perfect, beautiful life and they still have a very good life, but they sacrificed a lot.”

According to The Washington Post, new financial disclosures released Monday reveal the deeply altruistic duo made at least $82 million last year. For her part, Ivanka brought in “$3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington and more than $2 million in severance from the Trump Organization,” despite the fact that her position will presumably still be available to her when her time in the White House draws to a close. In total, the president’s daughter raked in at least $12 million in 2017, with the bulk of her income coming from her clothing brand, which is made in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China (luckily, textiles will be spared from Daddy’s tariffs). Meanwhile, the selfless Jared—who the media should leave alone!—took in at least $70 million from various companies tied to his family’s business that he has not divested from, including more than $5 million in income from Quail Ridge, a Kushner Cos. apartment complex in New Jersey. (In April, the company received a subpoena for information related to a three-year period, while Jared was C.E.O., in which the firm routinely filed false paperwork that allowed them to skirt regulations designed to protect tenants, netting the Kushners millions. Kushner Cos. has blamed the slumlord-esque tactics on paperwork errors.)

Incidentally, some may wonder what, exactly, the couple get up to all day in D.C., considering that, until recently, Jared didn’t have top-level security clearance and hasn’t accomplished any of the goals he wrote on his to-do list in January 2017, and Ivanka’s “job” seems to entail posing for photos pretending to do things and posting them to Instagram. Then again, perhaps that’s all it takes to succeed in the Trump administration without really trying. Ivanka’s income from the Trump International Hotel was almost certainly boosted by her father’s presidency, and her nominal role in the West Wing. (It certainly didn’t hurt her application for seven trademarks in China, which were approved by Beijing at an unusually quick pace.) Kushner’s family, which had struggled to get the financing to save their floundering Midtown Manhattan skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue, were suddenly bailed out by a company with ties to the government of Qatar after Jared encouraged a punishing economic blockade of the tiny Middle Eastern country. (Two weeks later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Saudi Arabia that enough was enough.) Sacrifice indeed!   Source


May 28, 2018
Ivanka Trump granted seven new trademarks in China

Ivanka Trump has scored a batch of new trademarks in China as her father continues trade talks with Beijing.

Seven trademarks were officially registered to Ivanka Trump this month with China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, according to the government’s trademark database. They are for items such as kitchenware, furniture, paper products and cosmetics.

The approvals come as President Donald Trump remains engaged in trade negotiations with China on a wide range of issues.

Ethics experts say this raises conflict-of-interest concerns, since Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both serve as senior advisers in the White House.

“They come at a time when her father and his administration, in which she and her husband work, are making enormously consequential decisions with and about China,” said Norm Eisen, the former ethics chief for President Barack Obama and a CNN contributor.

“The conflict comes because we do not know if the Trump administration is making these official decisions [on China] to benefit the US, or to get more trademarks and other benefits for the Trump family,” he added.

Eisen is an attorney in lawsuits against Trump that allege that the president’s acceptance of payments and other benefits from foreign governments is in violation of the Constitution.

Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said in a statement that the fashion line regularly files for trademarks, especially in areas where trademark infringement is common.

“The brand has filed, updated, and rigorously protected its international trademarks over the past several years in the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant,” she said. “We have recently seen a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name and it is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark.”

Related: Trump talks trade with China as project linked to his company gets Chinese business

The company’s recent actions were protective in nature, intended to guard against people unrelated to Ivanka Trump who want to capitalize on her name, and not necessarily because the brand intends to sell those products, a company spokesperson said.

Since her father’s election, Ivanka Trump has stepped away from the management of her business, though she still retains an ownership stake. She isn’t legally required to sell all her assets in order to work in the White House, though she is subject to rules for federal employees that prohibit her from participating in matters in which she has a financial interest.

The trademarks received preliminary approval in February 2018, and economic tensions between the US and China did not begin in earnest until March. Trademarks typically take about three months in China to move from preliminary approval to final approval.

The green-light comes at a time when the stakes between the two nations are incredibly high.

China and the United States recently committed to put on hold threats of tariffs that would have amounted to tens of billions of dollars. The countries said China would “significantly increase” purchases of US goods and services to reduce their trade imbalance, a top Trump administration demand.

But the situation remains in flux. China has not put a dollar amount on its commitment to boost purchases, and hasn’t made any material concessions on intellectual property theft. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to go to China on June 2 through June 4 to continue discussions, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Trump is also still working out what to do about ZTE, the Chinese phone and telecom equipment maker that was crippled by a US export ban issued last month, in punishment for what the US said were violations of its sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

Easing penalties on ZTE is a priority for Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the Commerce Department briefed members of Congress on Friday about a tentative deal. But blowback from senators from both parties has been severe, eliciting questions about whether Trump will move forward with his reprieve.

Trump is also counting on China to keep pressure on North Korea as he tries to salvage a June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un.

Related: Companies become bargaining chips in US-China trade turmoil

Ivanka Trump’s Chinese trademarks aren’t the only Trump family business project to raise eyebrows amid negotiations with Beijing.

Earlier this month, a state-owned Chinese construction company formalized plans to develop a theme park in Lido, Indonesia — part of a broader project for which the Trump Organization has existing licensing agreements.

The move led ethics experts to voice concerns about the potential for quid pro quo dealings between Trump and China. The president isn’t in charge of the Trump Organization anymore, but he has not sold his ownership stake in the company.

The Trump Organization said at the time that its licensing deals are separate from the China-backed development of the theme park.

–CNN’s Serentie Wang and Cristina Alesci contributed to this report.   Source

March 2, 2018

Updated | Jared Kushner’s family-run real estate company tried to seek Qatari government financing for its troubled New York City property a month before Kushner backed a blockade on the Gulf kingdom, The Intercept reported on Friday.

Related: Jared Kushner can broker peace between Israel and Palestinians because of real estate experience, Netanyahu says

Kushner Cos. directly solicited investment from Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi for its 666 Fifth Avenue luxury tower in April 2017, two sources in the finance industry told The Intercept. No deal came of it.

Kushner Cos. spokeswoman Chris Taylor denied such brokering attempts occurred. “To be clear, we did not meet with anyone from the Qatari government to solicit sovereign funds for any of our projects,” Taylor told Newsweek in an email. “To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and false.”

The following month, Kushner and the White House supported a blockade of Qatar organized by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Due to the crisis, alliances in the region have shifted, with Qatar—which holds the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East—aligning more closely with Iran and Turkey.

Kushner very clearly exacted revenge on Qatar for refusing to bail his family out of their mountainous debt. That he still holds a position in government, & one with this much power, is a testament to both Trump’s nepotism & Republicans’ interest in party over country.

View image on Twitter

In June, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought a “calm and thoughtful dialogue” to bring resolution to the clash between Qatar and its neighbors. But President Donald Trump echoed Saudi talking points and called Qatar a “funder of terror at a very high level,” The New York Times reported.

Kushner resigned as CEO of Kushner Cos. when he joined the White House and left his father, Charles Kushner, to run the business. It was Charles Kushner who met with al-Emadi, along with their aides, at a St. Regis New York hotel suite in April, according to The Intercept. The meeting ran for half an hour, and they discussed the potential investment. Conversations continued the next day at a conference room at 666 Fifth Avenue, but al-Emadi was not present, The Intercept said.

The report concerning Qatar adds to controversy surrounding Kushner’s government work, business dealings and any conflicts between them.

Officials from the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico have privately talked about how they could use Kushner’s lack of foreign policy experience and business interests as leverage, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller’s team asked witnesses about Kushner’s talks during the presidential transition with people from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Russia and China, NBC News reported on Friday based on information from witnesses interviewed for the investigation.

Hours later, Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S., Meshal Hamad Al Thani, denied such reports that Qatar has been in touch with Mueller’s office.

“We have not been approached nor have we had any contact with them on any matters. We have also had no contact with the US Government on any related investigations,” he tweeted. “Any reporting to the contrary is false.”

On reports that Qatar has communicated with US Special Counsel’s office: We have not been approached nor have we had any contact with them on any matters. We have also had no contact with the US Government on any related investigations. Any reporting to the contrary is false.

This story has been updated with the special counsel’s reported inquiries into Kushner’s talks with Qataris and a tweet from Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S.    Source

Sept 29, 2017
CBS News
Trump kids’ ski vacation incurs over $300,000 in security costs

The annual Aspen ski vacation taken in March by President Trump’s children, Ivanka and Eric Trump, and their families, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, left taxpayers on the hook for security costs of at least $330,000, CBS News has learned.

Records obtained by CBS News through a Freedom of Information Act request show that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spent $329,561 for the week-long vacation. Housing costs were $195,700 at hotels across town.

The Secret Service also spent $26,000 on rental vehicles. Equipment costs were close to $22,000 — to accompany the family on the slopes, the Secret Service had to buy lift tickets and rent skis and boots. They also rented bikes and bought other unidentified items at outfitting supplier REI and

Pictures posted on Instagram show Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner – both senior advisers to the president — along with Eric and Lara Trump atop Aspen Mountain. Eric Trump and his wife also brought along their two dogs.   Read more and view video here

Sept 24, 2017
Kushner Used Personal Email Account for Government Business

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, has used his personal email account to conduct official government business, his lawyer acknowledged on Sunday.

The lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said that Mr. Kushner, using the personal account, had received or sent “fewer than a hundred emails” involving his White House colleagues over the first seven months of the administration. Mr. Lowell said the emails were all forwarded to Mr. Kushner’s official account, creating a record.

The use of the personal account was first reported by Politico.

Mr. Kushner is not the only official in the Trump White House who has been found to have used private email or text messaging for government business, a situation that has raised questions about the administration’s preservation of records. But Mr. Kushner is the person closest to the president to have his personal email use become public. Read more

July 13, 2017
Kushner $$ Watch

Because of various restrictions, Jared Kushner’s financial disclosures aren’t officially posted online. But most of them can be requested, which is what I’m doing. This page will be updated if and when more become available. Read more

July 12, 2017
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation

Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries. Read more


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