Jared Kushner began mentally checking out of the White House shortly after his father-in-law's election loss, and his distance created an opening for conspiracy theorists and cranks to get close to the president.
Donald Trump's son-in-law had long been the president's most influential adviser, but he and wife Ivanka Trump -- also White House adviser -- never really believed the 2020 election had been stolen, so they started planning their life after the administration would end as various legal challenges failed, reported the New York Times.
"While the president spent the hours and days after the polls closed complaining about imagined fraud in battleground states and plotting a strategy to hold on to power, his daughter and son-in-law were already washing their hands of the Trump presidency," the Times reported.
"Their decision to move on opened a vacuum around the president that was filled by conspiracy theorists like Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who relayed to Mr. Trump farcically false stories of dead voters, stuffed ballot boxes, corrupted voting machines and foreign plots," the report continued. "Concluding that the president would not listen even to family members urging him to accept the results, Mr. Kushner told Mr. Trump that he would not be involved if Mr. Giuliani were in charge, according to people he confided in, effectively ceding the field to those who would try to overturn the election."
The new reporting is based on interviews with a number of individuals close to Kushner and the former president for the book, “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” by Times reporter Peter Baker and New Yorker reporter Susan Glasser.
"To Mr. Kushner, his father-in-law’s decision to turn once again to Mr. Giuliani was a red flag," the Times reported. "As far as Mr. Kushner was concerned, Mr. Giuliani was an erratic schemer who had already gotten Mr. Trump impeached once because of his political intriguing in Ukraine, and nothing good would come of the former mayor’s involvement in fighting the election results. But instead of fighting Mr. Giuliani for Mr. Trump’s attention, Mr. Kushner opted out entirely, deciding it was time to focus on his own future, one that would no longer involve the White House."
This scheme -- which culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection -- ultimately did get Trump impeached a second time, and the former president remains under investigation by the Department of Justice and prosecutors in various states for possible criminal violations, and the House select committee will begin public hearings Thursday to present evidence of possible crimes.