Jared Kushner, who serves as the senior adviser to President Donald Trump, is under more hot water than ever.
The 37-year-old is part of Trump’s closest circle of White House aides, and he is an integral part of the Trump family through his marriage to the president’s daughter Ivanka.
Although his background in Democratic politics would suggest that he is an unlikely figure for such a position, just like Trump, Kushner comes from a wealthy and influential New York family that made its money in real estate.
Kushner has made a name for himself in real-estate development, but he has now found himself in the crosshairs of the Trump-Russia investigation.
Here’s how Kushner inherited his family’s business legacy and rose to the top of American politics in the Trump era:
Kushner was born on January 10, 1981, in Livingston, New Jersey, to Seryl and Charles Kushner. Kushner’s father was the son of Joseph Kushner, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Novogrudok, Belarus.
Kushner’s father Charles is a powerful real-estate developer and major Democratic donor who founded Kushner Companies, a New York real-estate firm, in 1985.
That same year, Jared’s younger brother Joshua was born. He now is a partner at Thrive Capital, a health care startup.
After finishing high school in New Jersey, Kushner attended Harvard University, graduating in 2003 with a degree in government. Although there were reports at the time that Kushner’s father had offered Harvard an endowment to boost his son’s chances, his family denied these claims.
In 2005, Charles Kushner was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, and witness tampering. Jared, who had already been managing real estate in college, took over his father’s duties at Kushner Companies while he was in jail.
Future New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was then a US attorney, was the one who prosecuted Charles Kushner. His father’s trial convinced Jared to abandon his dream of becoming a prosecutor himself, and he threw himself into the family business.
Kushner purchased the New York Observer newspaper in 2006, and after getting a dual JD-MBA from New York University in 2007, Kushner became the CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008. He bought a property in 2007 that became the largest single building transaction in the US.
In 2009, Kushner married Ivanka Trump, whom he had been dating for two years. The couple wed in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Ivanka converted to Kushner’s faith, Orthodox Judaism.
Kushner had a prominent role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign by way of his marriage to Ivanka, running Trump’s digital, online and social-media efforts with help from Silicon Valley’s elite.
In July 2016, Kushner, along with Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, infamously met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower. Trump Jr. later said he was promised “dirt” on former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before the meeting.
Source: New York Times
In late 2016, Kushner also reportedly told the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, that he was interested in setting up a communications back channel between Trump and Russia. Kislyak said he was taken aback by the suggestion.
Source: Washington Post
After a rocky transition, Kushner assumed his role in the White House on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017. During his first year, Kushner has headed up Middle East peace talks and has at times been the butt of insults from former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Sources: Business Insider
Kushner had to testify before the congressional probe and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation about his contacts with Russian nationals. In November, he reportedly gave Mueller information about former White House national-security adviser Michael Flynn.
Kushner is most likely the “senior member of the Trump transition team” that Flynn said had ordered him to contact Russian officials in his guilty plea. This might make Kushner one of the Mueller investigation’s next targets.
But things have gotten even more complicated for Kushner in the new year — Mueller is now reportedly investigating his efforts to get foreign backing for his family business during the presidential transition.
Source: Business Insider
In addition, as the scandal around former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s alleged domestic abuse mounted, it was revealed that Kushner, like Porter, was working under a temporary security clearance.
Source: Business Insider
Kushner finally lost his “top secret” clearance in late February — meaning now the White House calligrapher even has a higher clearance than he does.
That same day, several other disastrous news stories broke. Four different countries were apparently seeking to manipulate Kushner, his company reportedly received massive loans from firms he had met with in the White House, and his right-hand man was leaving his post.
Source: Business Insider
Assailed on all sides, Kushner’s predicaments look like they are only getting worse.
Regardless of Kushner’s ultimate destiny amid the Russia investigation and the Trump administration, he and his wife have emerged as a power couple that has already left an indelible mark on US politics. Their impact won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
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