It’s Time to Pay More Attention to Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner, son-in-law of of President-elect Donald Trump, walks from Trump Tower on November 14, 2016, in New York. As Trump and President Barack Obama met privately at the White House, Kushner strolled the mansion's South Lawn, deep in conversation with Obama's chief of staff. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

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Chris Christie was fired as the head of Donald Trump’s transition team last week. This week, two members of Trump’s transition team for national security have also been fired. What’s going on? The Washington Post says this:

A former U.S. official with ties to the Trump team described the ousters of Rogers and others as a “bloodletting of anybody that associated in any way on the transition with Christie,” and said that the departures were engineered by two Trump loyalists who have taken control of who will get national security posts in the administration: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Rogers had no prior significant ties to Christie but had been recruited to join the Trump team as an adviser by the former New Jersey governor. At least three other Christie associates were also pushed aside, former officials said, apparently in retaliation for Christie’s role as a U.S. prosecutor in sending Kushner’s father to prison.

Smoldering vengeance is about what we’d expect from Trump and his extended family, so I’m provisionally ready to believe this is what’s going on. Remember this?

Aboard his gold-plated jumbo jet, the Republican nominee does not like to rest or be alone with his thoughts, insisting that aides stay up and keep talking to him. He prefers the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law.

Kushner is Trump’s very own Grima Wormtongue! And he really, really, doesn’t like Christie. This is from July:

Sources close to Jared Kushner, who is Ivanka Trump’s husband, say that Kushner has been telling them that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be Vice-President over his dead body. Kushner, who is playing an increasingly active role in the campaign, has a bitter history with Christie. Christie, when he was the US attorney of New Jersey, prosecuted his father, Charles Kushner, in a case that grabbed national headlines. The elder Kushner, pled guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering in 2005. He received a 2 year prison sentence.

Wait. Kushner’s father engaged in witness tampering? Oh yes:

The federal witnesses he had attempted to retaliate against were his sister and brother-in-law, who were cooperating with that same investigation. Kushner paid a prostitute $10,000 to lure his brother-in-law to a motel room at the Red Bull Inn in Bridgewater to have sex with him. A hidden camera recorded the activity, and Kushner sent the lurid tape to his sister, making sure the tape arrived on the day of a family party.

Maybe we should be less worried about Steve Bannon and more worried about Jared Kushner. No, scratch that. We should be worried about both. But Bannon is already getting plenty of attention. I have a feeling maybe Kushner should too.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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