Jared Kushner reportedly took part in an attempted blackmail scheme against his former friends Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, who also serves as a senior White House adviser, took over for former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen as the main conduit between the president and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, reported The Daily Beast.
Both Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to charges filed by the special counsel and federal prosecutors, and Pecker have agreed to cooperate with investigators regarding potential wrongdoing by the president and his associates.
Pecker had hoped Cohen would continue serving Trump in the White House, but when he was left behind the American Media Inc. publisher settled on Kushner as his point person for business dealings with the president after the inauguration.
He and Kushner discussed everything from international relations to media gossip, according to four sources, and Pecker boasted to associates that he had regular contact with the senior White House adviser.
Both Pecker and Kushner forged close relationships with the Saudi royal family, and they also discussed possible dirt the Enquirer had dug up on the “Morning Joe” co-hosts.
Scarborough and Brzezinski revealed in late June 2017 that three senior Trump aides had urged them to “grovel” before the president or the tabloid would publish negative stories about them.
Brzezinski said the tabloid sent reporters to harass her family and friends as White House officials begged them to call the president to apologize.
The White House denied the MSNBC broadcasters’ claims, but Trump essentially confirmed he had the ability to stop the Enquirer from publishing stories.
Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017ADVERTISEMENT
The Daily Beast later reported that Kushner was involved in that matter, but Scarborough did not know that his friend had been in regular contact with the Enquirer‘s publisher.
Trump was reportedly angry that Kushner had offered in January 2017 to officiate a wedding between Scarborough and Brzezinski, who had been friends with the president but later became outspoken critics.
Shortly after the Scarborough-Brzezinski drama, Pecker visited Trump and Kushner at the White House, and Kacy Grine, a French businessman with ties to the Saudi business elite and royal family.
Scarborough said the president called him during the campaign and boasted that he was friends with Pecker, and suggested the tabloid was planting stories to attack his political enemies.
“He’d say, ‘Have you seen the Ben Carson story? Have you seen the Ben Carson story? Have you seen the story in the Enquirer,’ and then he’d talk about it,” Scarborough said.
Federal investigators are now questioning Pecker about those articles, which include payments to Trump’s alleged mistresses and a story implicating Sen. Ted Cruz’s father in the Kennedy assassination, as possible campaign finance violations.