Trump: Expert discusses Jared Kushner's foreign investors
Mr Kushner is not only Ms Trump’s husband but the senior advisor to her father, President Donald Trump. Earlier this week, it was reported that President Trump blamed Mr Kushner for his election defeat over his work coordinating the coronavirus testing effort. The New York Times quoted Mr Trump as having said to Mr Kushner before the November election: “I’m going to lose – and it’s going to be your fault, because of the testing.”
The claim, according to the Independent, is a result of Mr Trump’s belief that “too much coronavirus testing is bad because it reveals too many cases”.
The White House denies the exchange took place.
Mr Kushner has played a central role in the Trump administration and Trump family, and has his own colourful history in the field of business.
In 2006, he bought the widely circulated New York Observer newspaper for $10million (£7.3m).
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He immediately turned the paper into a tabloid, and pushed it towards being a digital platform.
While he successfully made the title profitable, many have accused Mr Kushner of using the paper as a secret weapon to target business enemies and help his friends.
In 2017, the Washington Post spoke to the Observer’s former editor, Elizabeth Spiers, who claimed Mr Kushner asked her to report a story that didn’t hold up when scrutinised.
She said: “We were having a meeting and he said, ‘There’s a story I think we should do and it’s really important to me.’
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“He gave me this tip, that if it had checked out, it really would have been an Observer story.
“And then the reporter came back to me and said, ‘It’s just not true; there’s nothing there.’
“We’d meet weekly and he’d say, ‘So, is there any progress with that story?’ and I’d say, ‘Jared, everyone we talk to tells us it’s not true.'”
Some years following the incident, Mr Kushner was asked at a conference how he dealt with conflicts of interest considering his standing in the New York real estate world.
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He said: “If you don’t want conflicts just go in your apartment, stay there and lock the door – don’t go to work, don’t do anything.”
The Post’s financial reporter, Jonathan O’Connell, said: “It’s an example of the way Jared’s two types of businesses interacted.
“He would occasionally use the Observer as a sort of weapon against his enemies or rivals in real estate.
“And I think it raised questions in New York real estate about what kind of character Jared had.”
After this, in 2018, Buzzfeed reported that Mr Kushner “personally ordered” a software developer at the Observer to remove stories that were “critical of his friends and real estate peers”.
The publication said it happened in 2012, when he went round the editorial leaders at the paper and requested the removal of a 2010 story about a settlement between “then-New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo and real estate firm Vantage Properties regarding allegations that the company had illegally forced tenants out of their apartments to raise rents.
It added: “Kushner also ordered another 2010 article deleted about Vantage’s top executive Neil Rubler.”
Another story, from 2012, was “about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver purchasing a $6.75million (£4.9m) apartment in a tony New York City building,” what Buzzfeed said was “the kind of item that privacy-conscious famous people often try to keep out of the real estate press”.
It noted that Mr Kushner and Mr Silver were friends.
The NBA commissioner went as far as to praise Mr Kushner in a 2016 New Yorker article for finding the space for an NBA retail shop.
Further, in 2016, Vanity Fair reported that Mr Kushner had ordered a “hit piece” on Richard Mack, the co-founder of Mack Real Estate Group.
A former Observer editor told the publication that was a “a poorly kept secret in the bullpen that Jared ordered a hit piece on Richard Mack.
“He pushed a tip that was shaky at best.”
Mr Kushner eventually stepped down from his role in 2017 to pursue a slot in President Trump’s administration.
He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.
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