You hear that sound? That whoosh-wish, whoosh-wish, whoosh-wish happy, joyful sound? You know what it is? It’s the sound International Man of Mystery Jared Kushner makes as he skips along the corridors of power. Kushner’s Happy Feet have been whoosh-wooshing ever since his mommy took him to buy his first pair of Ferragamo at Bloomie’s over at the Matawan mall when he was growing up. These days, you can hear the Prep Monster skipping through the White House.
Last fall you could hear him skipping into the elevator at Trump Tower on his way to Important Meetings during the Trump transition, and before that, you could hear Kushner skipping into the offices of the New York Observer when he bought the weekly at age 25 with a quick $10 million he scooped up doing real estate deals while he was whoosh-wishing through the doors of the Fly Club at Harvard, and a few years before that, you could hear the whoosh-wish of his Training Loafers as they skipped down the halls of the exclusive Frisch School over in Paramus, New Jersey, and before that — hell, you could have probably heard Baby Kushner whoosh-wishing from one end of his goddamned crib to the other, he was so cherry-cheeked and bubbly and gleeful! I mean, you’d be whoosh-wishing your Chanel baby shoes, too, if you had been born the heir to a multibillion dollar real estate fortune!
Think of it! One day Daddy Kushner writes a check for $2.5 million to Harvard, and the next day you’re graduating from the place! And what do you know but Daddy Kushner digs around in his pockets and throws $3 million at NYU and suddenly, they’re throwing a juris doctor and an MBA at you! And miracle of miracles, you turn around a couple of years later and you’re over at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey, and you’re tying the knot with the Deal Maker’s daughter Ivanka!
And just look across the Hudson! Why, over there on Park Avenue is a monster penthouse waiting for you in one of the ubiquitous Trump condos that sprang up around Manhattan like deadly nightshades in the dark. And around the corner what do we find but a nice little job taking over Daddy’s billion-dollar real estate empire! And the Observer! And Ivanka! And those darling kids!
And now Daddy-in-Law Donald has given him a whole bunch of new jobs! My goodness Jared is busy whoosh-wishing along White House halls! Trump put him in charge of something called the Office of American Innovation. And what’s he supposed to do in that job? Oh, not much. Just innovating “workforce development” and overhauling the federal bureaucracy and fixing all the problems in the Veterans Administration, and solving the national problem of opioid addiction. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah. Bringing peace to the Middle East by solving the centuries-old struggles between Israel and the Palestinians, that’s all. Oh my God, Kushner must ask himself every day, “Where am I? Is this heaven or what?”
Yes it is, dear reader! That’s why that whoosh-wish sound you hear those Kushner Ferragamos making is so crystal clear, so bright, so all encompassingly happy! Because it’s the sound of Heaven on Earth!
That’s where Jared and Ivanka resided until this week when reality smacked Kushner upside the head in the person of Sergey Gorkov. Oh, you haven’t heard of Sergey? Well, Kushner probably hadn’t heard of him either until last December when General Michael Flynn, who was Trump’s national security adviser during the campaign and the transition, introduced him to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
We’re getting ankle deep in Sergeys here, so bear with me. This Sergey, the Kislyak Sergey, is the Russian guy Flynn was texting and calling during the campaign last year and into the transition after the election. You remember those calls between Flynn and Sergey Kislyak? The ones Trump and Flynn first denied ever happened, then they admitted Flynn talked to his Russian buddy Kislyak once, to wish dear Sergey "Merry Christmas," and then after Trump was inaugurated and Flynn took his office as the White House national security adviser, they finally got around to admitting that there were multiple calls, and that Flynn and Sergey had been talking about lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia after Putin decided it was a good idea to invade Ukraine and seize Crimea. Nothing to see here, folks. Moving right along.
But last December, Jared and Mike were hanging around Trump Tower, and Sergey Kislyak was running in and out having meetings, and one afternoon he pops into Kushner’s office and suggests that he should meet with the other Sergey, the Gorkov Sergey. And who is this Sergey, you might ask?
And Kushner no doubt wondered.
Well, he was the director of the Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank. I know that’s a hell of a lot of syllables for a bank name, but bear with me. This handy little Russki operation, known around town as the VEB bank, is entirely a creature of Putin, used by his regime to finance off-the-books stuff like the Sochi Olympics and the Sochi airport, and oh, by the way, to help his oligarch pals running around the Kremlin to launder the cash they removed from Russian businesses by the container ship.
Now Sergey Gorkov is kind of an interesting guy. Pay attention, because we’ve got some more Russian names coming. Gorkov graduated from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Academy in Moscow. He’s pretty much a new-fangled KGB thug in a Brioni suit who got his job when a guy named Herman Gref recommended to his pal Vladimir Putin that he hire Gorkov to lead the state-run VEB bank. And who is Herman Gref, you might wonder?
What do you know, but Herman is the Putin pal who set up a meeting between Trump and 16 Russian oligarchs when Trump was in Moscow with his Miss Universe Pageant in 2013! Yeah, that Trump! The one who got up at his unhinged press conference a few weeks ago and said he didn’t know any Russians, hadn’t spoken to any Russians, didn’t have any Russian deals, hell, he barely knew where Russia is!
But somehow, without knowing any Russians or talking to any Russians, Trump meets up in Russia with this Herman Gref, who gets Putin to hire Gorkov, who gets Kislyak to set up a secret December meeting with Trump’s son-in-law Kushner at Trump Tower. I mean, it’s a miracle! None of these Trump people knowing any Russians or talking to any Russians, but all of a sudden they’re holding a secret meeting to talk about — well, to talk about what, exactly?
We don’t know for sure, but given the jobs these Russian guys had, and their connections to one another and to Trump, you think that Gorkov might have wanted to talk to Kushner about the same subject Kislyak was talking to Flynn about? Uh, let’s see, you think they might have been having their secret meeting to talk about lifting the Russian sanctions? Bingo!
So why did Putin and Kislyak and Gorkov and Gref and all the rest of them want the sanctions lifted? Well, the sanctions former President Barack Obama imposed after Putin invaded Ukraine and took Crimea had brought the big $500 billion Exxon oil drilling deal in the Russian arctic to a screeching halt. In fact, the sanctions had practically frozen the whole goddamned Russian economy when Obama outlawed dealmaking with the VEB bank and a whole bunch of other Russian banks and financial institutions and froze their assets. They couldn’t make deals on Wall Street; they couldn’t arrange outside funding to bail out failing Russian businesses damaged by the sanctions; they couldn’t launder any more money through their banks in Cyprus. Hell, they couldn’t get up in the morning and get a goddamned cup of coffee, the sanctions had shackled them so tightly.
And the VEB bank that Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was so worried about? The bank run by his pal Sergey Gorkov? Oh boy, this is a good one: The two Sergeys' bank had a New York branch that employed yet another Russian guy, one Evgeny Buryakov, who was arrested, charged and convicted for spying a couple of years ago by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Buryakov is currently serving 30 months in a federal lockup in Ohio. Bharara charged that Buryakov had been trading coded messages with Igor Sporyshev, an agent for the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and Victor Podobny, an attaché at the Russian mission to the U.N. These two Russian thugs were also charged with espionage by Preet Bharara, but they hightailed it back to Moscow, where Putin has probably awarded them whatever has replaced the Order of Lenin for their hard work back in New York City.
And let’s not forget what happened to Preet Bharara. What was his reward for convicting one Russian spy and chasing two other Russian FSB thugs out of the country? Well, Trump fired him from his U.S. attorney job a couple of weeks ago. This was after Trump had asked him to stay on in his job last fall in a meeting at Trump Tower, a meeting that occurred before the VEB bank director, Sergey Gorkov (Buryakov’s boss at VEB bank), and his pal Sergey Kislyak (the Russian U.S. ambassador who happened to be Viktor Podobny’s boss) had their secret meeting with Trump son-in-law “Ferragamo” Kushner.
The way the White House plays it, meeting with Russian nationals is part of the job of transition, just a few of the very many conversations you have to have if the new administration is going to be fully prepared to make America great again. Helping his father-in-law with his transition last December meant throwing in, meant Kushner had to sit down with Russians. So how is it that not only one but both these guys had to have spy written all over them? You think Gorkov and Kislyak might have had a couple of words with Kushner about Preet Bharara, the prosecutor who locked up their pal Buryakov? Oh, you cynical thing, you!
If we needed any evidence before that the Russians hacked our election trying to tip the scales in Trump’s favor, we’ve got it now. There were so many Russians running around Trump Tower last December, the escalators were in danger of breaking. I’m beginning to think these guys own Trump from his wingtips to his hair weave. It’s no wonder his hair is the color of a Tequila Sunrise. He probably drowns himself in the stuff every morning while he tweets madly, trying to figure a way to get himself out of the Russian mess he’s got himself in.