The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is "acting emboldened in the post-Mueller environment," where his influence has purportedly "never been stronger."
A new report from "Vanity Fair" reveals that Kushner is a "kingmaker," who is allegedly running both the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump's reelection bid:
While Trump relishes the prospect of going after his opponents, his family is acting emboldened in the post-Mueller environment. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, in particular, are taking a more aggressive approach to internal politics, sources said. “Jared is totally relieved about Mueller. He feels they’ve been completely exonerated. The criminal liability has gone away,” a source who spoke recently with Kushner told me.
A former West Wing official said Kushner’s influence has never been stronger. “He’s running the R.N.C. He’s running the campaign,” the official said. “You have to go through Jared on everything,” a Republican close to the White House said. “He’s the kingmaker.”
Kushner's growing power in the White House comes on the heels of a memo released by the House Oversight Committee earlier this month revealing he was allegedly granted access to highly-classified information even though his security clearance had been rejected by top officials. A background investigation into Kushner "revealed significant disqualifying factors, including foreign influence, outside activities ('employment outside or businesses external to what your position at the EOP entails'), and personal conduct," according to the memo. Despite these concerns, a Trump White House official allegedly overruled the security team's concerns without noting "in the file how he had considered and mitigated concerns with each of the disqualifying factors, but he merely noted in the file that 'the activities occurred prior to federal service.'"
When discussing the accusations allegations with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Kushner said, "I can say over the last two years that I’ve been here, I’ve been accused of all different types of things, and all of those things have turned out to be false."
But David Kris, a senior Justice Department official who worked for former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, described the accusations against Kushner as a "big deal," pointing out "the kinds of concerns that [Tricia Newbold, a manager in the Personnel Security Office at the White House,] mentioned are very serious. Senior staff at the White House — and particularly relatives of the U.S. president — are incredibly attractive targets for our adversaries seeking to gather intelligence or exert covert influence."
Kushner has reportedly maintained a close friendship with Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman despite intelligence agency conclusions that the latter ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The New York Times was first to report that Kushner — who has long been known to have had a close friendship with the Saudi royal, with some officials expressing concern that the politically inexperienced businessman was being manipulated — had not severed those ties despite the international outrage over Khashoggi's murder:
Since the uproar over Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, the Trump administration has acknowledged only one conversation between Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed: an Oct. 10 telephone call joined by John R. Bolton, the national security adviser. The Americans “asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process,” the White House said in a statement.
But American officials and a Saudi briefed on their conversations said that Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed have continued to chat informally. According to the Saudi, Mr. Kushner has offered the crown prince advice about how to weather the storm, urging him to resolve his conflicts around the region and avoid further embarrassments.