Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is now coming under scrutiny from House Democrats.
Vanity Fair reports that Democratic lawmakers are examining why the Saudi royal court — and not the American embassy in Riyadh — handled scheduling and security for Kushner’s recent trip to the Middle East.
“I’m not only troubled—I am stunned by the friendship,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) tells Vanity Fair. “It looks bad. It smells bad. It is bad.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has in particular taken an interest in probing Kushner’s relationship with MBS.
“At the end of last month, Engel sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents and records related to Kushner’s February trip to Saudi Arabia, including any ‘handwritten notes’ related to any meetings attended by Brian Hook, the sole State Department official included in Kushner’s delegation,” Vanity Fair writes. “The goal, a congressional staffer told me, is to glean any insight into what Kushner discussed with M.B.S. and other foreign officials.”
Leaked intelligence reports from the Saudi government show that the Saudis have targeted Kushner as someone who could be used to achieve their ends by bypassing traditional diplomatic channels.
“[Trump’s] inner circle is predominantly deal makers who lack familiarity with political customs and deep institutions, and they support Jared Kushner,” a delegation of Saudi officials wrote in a leaked slide presentation about how to best work with the Trump White House.