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Jared Kushner built luxury condos using real estate grants meant for poor communities: report

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Among the flurry of articles surrounding President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, one of the less headline-grabbing stories centers on some of Kushner’s more unsavory business practices at the helm of his family’s real estate company.

Those stories got a boost with a new Washington Post report that details how Kushner utilized a legal loophole that critics compare to gerrymandering to apply for a federal program that saved him $50 million on his company’s luxury condos in Jersey City, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan.

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The EB-5 visa program Kushner and his business partners used to build the luxury towers at 65 Bay Street on the Hudson River waterfront “made it appear that the luxury tower was in an area with extraordinarily high unemployment, allowing Kushner Companies and its partners to get $50 million in low-cost financing through the EB-5 visa program,” according to the Post‘s Shawn Boburg.

“At the same time,” Boburg wrote, “they excluded some wealthy neighborhoods only blocks away.”

The loophole, which developers have reportedly used before, is legal, but “prominent members of both parties say has been plagued by fraud and abuse.” The Trump administration is considering legislation that would make EB-5 gerrymandering harder, and Kushner has reportedly said he’d recuse himself from the decision once it reaches the president’s desk.

The EB-5 program allows “wealthy foreigners” to get “a fast-track residence visa by investing at least $500,000 in a project in a ‘targeted employment area,'” the Post report said. “To qualify, the area must have an unemployment rate 1.5 times the national average. For developers, the terms of the investment are more favorable than a bank loan.”

Kushner Companies (which the president’s son-in-law stopped working for once he joined the Trump administration) is reportedly trying to utilize the EB-5 program for yet another luxury property in Jersey City, this time to raise $150 million in the Journal Square neighborhood.

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Read the entire report on Kushner’s real estate gerrymandering via the Post.


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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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