Jared Kushner lost his security clearance, but that's not the most troubling news

The president's son-in-law has conflicts of interest with China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 28, 2018 8:10AM (EST)

Jared Kushner   (AP/Evan Vucci)
Jared Kushner (AP/Evan Vucci)

New reports have revealed that Jared Kushner's numerous business-related conflicts of interest with foreign countries may be undermining him, while hampering his security clearance issues.

Kushner's business empire has a number of complex relationships that result in foreign entanglements, according to The Washington Post. China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates — all of whom Kushner has had major projects with — were discussing ways to manipulate Kushner's financial needs and his lack of foreign policy experience in order to better serve their own interests. Some foreign officials even refused to talk to more experienced American officials and insisted on only communicating with Kushner.

Many of Kushner's potentially compromising business entanglements had been reported as far back as early last year. Most notable among them was Kushner's meeting with the chairman of the Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group, which may or may not have contributed to an initial decision from Anbang to invest $400 million in the Kushner Cos. financially vulnerable Manhattan tower at 666 Fifth Avenue. That deal ultimately fell through, leaving the Kushner Co. — which Jared himself has technically resigned from — still searching for a way to save itself in one of its chief real estate holdings.

While it is unknown whether any of them acted on these desires, Kushner's vulnerability and repeated refusal to officially disclose all of his foreign contacts has kept him from obtaining a permanent security clearance and even led to his interim security clearance being downgraded from top-secret to the secret level last week.

There will doubtless be considerable fallout from Kushner's most recent downgrading. Members of the Trump family, and particularly Donald Trump Jr., are incensed at what they perceive as Chief of Staff John Kelly betraying Kushner in a way that both humiliates him and significantly reduces his ability to contribute to foreign policymaking, according to Axios. Because Kelly is still reeling from criticisms over his decision to keep Rob Porter on as staff secretary despite reports that he had been accused of domestic violence, his White House position is not necessarily any more secure than that of the president's son-in-law.

"Javanka and Kelly are locked in a death match. Two enter. Only one survives," one White House official told the site.

Other foreign policy experts have also agreed that Kushner's loss of security clearance status will hinder his ability to do the many jobs which Trump has assigned him.

"It would be limiting if he’s doing the kind of job if you would expect of someone who is really across the whole range of White House thinking and initiatives," a former official for President George W. Bush told Time Magazine.

That said, Kushner's power has not been entirely curtailed.

"What matters to the actors out in the region more than whether he has the confidence of the intelligence community is whether he has the confidence of the President. The fact that he is the son-in-law of the president gives him a lot of cachet in the region. I have no doubt that he can still do his job — and of course his aides will have access," former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk told CNN.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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China Donald Trump H.r. Mcmaster Israel Jared Kushner Mexico Uae United Arab Emirates