Jared Kushner’s cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia has long drawn scrutiny. Now it’s the subject of a House investigation.
House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Thursday sent a letter to Kushner seeking information about a $2 billion investment the Saudi government made in Kushner’s brand-new investment firm just six months after he left the White House.
“The Committee is concerned by your decision to solicit billions of dollars from the Saudi government immediately following your significant involvement in shaping U.S.-Saudi relations,” the eight-page letter says.
“Your close relationship with Crown Prince bin Salman [and] your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump Administration … create the appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work during the Trump Administration.”
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) reportedly made the investment over the objections of its own advisers, who, among other things, were concerned about Kushner’s inexperience and a $25 million yearly management fee.
They were overruled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who developed a relationship with Kushner during his time in the White House that was so close it reportedly alarmed senior government officials.
Just how close were they? After Salman personally approved the operation to assassinate and dismember Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and fierce critic of his policies, he enlisted Kushner’s help in cleaning up the political mess. The two often communicated via personal WhatsApp texts.
“Your support for Saudi interests was unwavering,” the letter notes, “even as Congress and the rest of the world closely scrutinized the country’s human rights abuses in Yemen, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi assassins tied to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on political dissidents at home.”
In April, a presentation that Kushner’s firm gave to prospective clients was obtained by The Intercept, an investigative nonprofit news organization. The business model described therein, as characterized by the Oversight Committee, focuses on “trading on the relationships [Kushner] built while working for [his] father-in-law in the White House.”
A spokesperson for Kushner told The New York Times that Kushner “fully abided by all legal and ethical guidelines both during and after his government service.”