“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
Rachel Maddow tonight highlighted Adam Entous and Evan Osnos’ New Yorker Report on Jared Kushner’s unprecedented and improper meetings with Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador, meetings which violated longstanding policy which requires that senior regional specialists and note-takers be present when US officials meet with foreign officials.The reason for these requirements is simple: the US officials will have backup in case the meeting is falsely represented by the foreign official.
This is precisely what Kushner is now claiming, as Entous and Osnos report that US intelligence officials have intercepted Cui’s communications with Beijing, communications in which Cui claims that Kushner discussed not only US government policy but his own family’s business interests in China.
Kushner vehemently denies he discussed any business with Cui at the meetings. He is lying.
Kushner’s family’s financial survival depends on its connections the Chinese and his role as First Son-in-Law has been central to that relationship. Barely a week after the election, Kushner met with Wu Xiaohui of Anbang Insurance, a company of mysterious ownership (largely thought to be Government-controlled), to secure financing for the Kushner’s troubled 666 Fifth Avenue property. That deal was finalized in March of 2017, giving the Kushners welcome breathing room.
The following month, the president hosted Chinese Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, celebrating with the world’s best chocolate cake, a fireworks display in Syria and a lovely gift from the Chinese to Kushner’s wife: long-sought Trademark clearances.
Just a few weeks later, Kushner’s sister traveled to Shanghai and Beijing to pitch half-million-dollar, Kushner-owned condos as “golden ticket” entres for Chinese seeking EB5 Immigrant Investor visas with brochures reading, “Invest $500,000 and Immigrate to the United States.”
None of these ventures could have been possible without the direct knowledge and approval of the Chinese government. And the government had little reason to approve such ventures (particularly the risky Anbang investment in 666 Fifth) without the expectation of some influence or goodwill in return.
The idea that Kushner, who was desperate to save his family’s fortunes threatened by the collapse of financing for 666 Fifth, would not have gladly discussed the possibility of cooperative ventures with Cui is absurd. That he insisted on having his meetings with Cui without the usual experts and recording is clear evidence that he knew such discussions were risky and improper, if not outright illeagal.
He simply had no choice. He was young and needed the money.