Kushner is the elder son of real-estate developer Charles Kushner and is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka. He was chief executive officer of the real-estate holding and development company Kushner Companies and of Observer Media, publisher of the New York Observer. He is the co-founder and part owner of Cadre, an online real-estate investment platform.
On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named as a senior White House advisor. He consequently resigned as CEO of Kushner Companies and as publisher of the Observer, but his private financial interests remain a subject of controversy. He has also been linked with Russian officials, and helped develop and run Trump's digital media strategy.
Kushner was born in Livingston, New Jersey, to Seryl Kushner (née Stadtmauer) and Charles Kushner, a real-estate developer. His paternal grandparents, Rae and Joseph Kushner, were Holocaust survivors who came to the U.S. in 1949 from Navahrudak, Belarus.
Kushner was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family. He graduated from the Frisch School, a coed yeshiva high school, in 1999. According to a Kushner Companies spokeswoman, he was an honors student and a member of the debate, hockey, and basketball teams. Former school officials described him as a less than stellar student.
In 1998, Charles pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University and smaller amounts to Princeton and Cornell; in 2001, he gave $3 million to his alma mater New York University. In 2002 he was appointed to its board of trustees.
Kushner matriculated at Harvard in 1999. He was elected into the Fly Club, supported the campus Chabad house, and bought and sold real estate in Somerville, Massachusetts, as a vice president of Somerville Building Associates (a division of Kushner Companies). Its other vice president was his maternal uncle, Richard Stadtmauer, then vice chairman of Kushner Companies. The venture was dissolved in 2005 after returning a profit of $20 million. Kushner graduated from Harvard in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government.
In 2004, Charles was arrested on charges of tax evasion, illegal campaign donations, and witness tampering. He was prosecuted by then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, convicted, and sentenced to two years in prison. In 2006, Stadtmauer was indicted on lesser counts, also by Christie. He received a three-year sentence.
Kushner graduated from New York University in 2007 with a dual JD/MBA degree. He interned at Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
Kushner is a real-estate investor and has increased Kushner Companies' presence in the New York City real-estate market.
Kushner Companies purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed. Jared assumed the role of CEO in 2008. Following the property crash that year, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail footage to Stanley Chera and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building. By that time, Kushner Companies had lost more than $90 million on its investment.
On August 18, 2014, Kushner acquired a three-building apartment portfolio in Middle River, Maryland, for $38 million with Aion Partners. In 2013–14, he and his company acquired more than 11,000 units throughout New York, New Jersey, and the Baltimore area. In May 2015, he purchased 50.1% of the Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments Ltd. for $295 million.
In 2014, Kushner, with his brother Joshua and Ryan Williams, co-founded Cadre (now RealCadre LLC), an online real-estate investment platform. His business partners included Goldman Sachs and billionaire George Soros, a top Democratic Party donor. In early 2015, Soros Fund Management financed the startup with a $250 million credit line. Kushner did not identify these business relationships in his January 2017 government financial-disclosure form.
At age 25, Kushner purchased the New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million, using money he says he earned during his college years by closing deals on residential buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, with family members providing the backing for his investments.
After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format. Since then, he has been credited with increasing the Observer's online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group. With no substantial experience in journalism, Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper's veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan. "This guy doesn't know what he doesn't know," Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time. As a result of his differences with Kushner, Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011. It has been alleged that Kushner used Observer as propaganda against rivals in real estate. Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey and one-time member of Rudy Giuliani's unsuccessful 2008 presidential primary campaign.
According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the "Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York's elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth ... [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013". In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.
Kushner stepped down from his newspaper role in January 2017 to pursue a role in President Donald Trump's administration. He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.
Jared Kushner had been a lifelong Democrat, making major donations to its candidates for years yet also his New York Observer endorsed Republican US presidential race nominee Mitt Romney in 2012; then, reportedly continuing along his 'ideological conversion', Kushner joined his father-in-law Donald Trump's nascient US presidential campaign in 2015. Kushner has had no prior involvement in campaign politics or in government before his father-in-law, Trump's, campaign.
From the outset of the presidential campaign of his father-in-law Donald Trump, Kushner was the architect of Trump's digital, online and social media campaigns, enlisting talent from Silicon Valley to run a 100-person social-media team dubbed "Project Alamo". Kushner has also helped as a speechwriter and was tasked with working to establish a plan for Trump's White House transition team. He was for a time seen as Trump's de facto campaign manager, succeeding Corey Lewandowski, who was fired in part on Kushner's recommendation in June 2016. He had been intimately involved with campaign strategy, coordinating Trump's visit in late August to Mexico and he is believed to be responsible for the choice of Mike Pence as Trump's running mate. Kushner's "sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign" has been described as "the locus of his father-in-law's presidential bid".
According to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who worked on technology for Hillary Clinton's campaign), Kushner's role in 2016 election was its biggest surprise. Schmidt told Forbes, "Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources." Federal Election Commission filings indicate the Trump campaign spent $343 million, about 59 percent as much as the Clinton campaign.
On July 5, 2016, Kushner wrote an open letter in the New York Observer addressing the controversy around a tweet from the Trump campaign containing allegedly antisemitic imagery. He was responding to his own paper's editorial by Dana Schwartz criticizing Kushner's involvement with the Trump campaign. In the letter, Kushner wrote, "In my opinion, accusations like 'racist' and 'anti-Semite' are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless."
Kushner's contacts with Russian officials have come under scrutiny as part of the larger federal investigation into Russian interference in the election. Kushner had two undisclosed phone calls with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak between April and November 2016. His attorney, Jamie Gorelick, told Reuters that he had participated in "thousands of calls in this time period" and did not recall any with Kislyak.
During the presidential transition, Kushner was said to be his father-in-law's "confidant" and one of Donald Trump's closest advisors, even more so than Trump's four adult children. Trump was reported to have requested the top-secret security clearance for him to attend the Presidential daily intelligence briefings as his staff-level companion, along with General Mike Flynn who already had the clearance prior to his resignation.
Kushner was reportedly an influential factor behind the firing of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team, as well as the dismissal from the Donald Trump transition team of anyone connected to Christie. An anonymous source familiar with the transition told Politico, "Jared doesn't like Christie... He's always held [the prosecution of his father] against Christie." Kushner told Forbes that the reports that he was involved in Christie's dismissal were false: "Six months ago, Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together... I was not behind pushing out him or his people."
In April 2017, Politico Magazine published an article purporting to show long-term links between Kushner, Russian Jewish oligarchs, Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Jewish outreach organization Chabad-Lubavitch. The article was widely condemned, with the head of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt saying that it "evokes age-old myths about Jews".
To hold his position in the Trump administration Kushner is required to obtain and keep a top-secret security clearance which among other things has required him to fill out 'Standard Form 86: Questionnaire for National Security Positions'. Kushner's SF-86 form did not disclose any meetings with foreign government officials and Kushner did not personally verify the correctness of the information on his form. As such, Kushner failed to disclose that he had met in December 2016 with Russian officials including Ambassador Kislyak and Sergei Gorkov, chairman of a Russian government-owned bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB). White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has stated that Kushner met with Gorkov briefly as part of his role in the transition and as a diplomatic conduit to the State Department. However, VEB has stated that Gorkov met with Kushner on a private matter concerning his family's real estate corporation, Kushner Companies, even though VEB has been under international sanctions since July 2014. In April 2017 it was reported that Kushner's lawyer has called the omission from his security clearance form an oversight. In July 2017 media reported that for his security clearance Kushner had recently filed a revised version of the form disclosing his contact with foreign nationals and that it was via this disclosure that government officials first learned of the June 2016 Trump campaign–Russian meeting and Kushner's role in it. Failure to disclose such contacts can cause revocation of a security clearance while knowingly doing so can result in imprisonment.
In the course of monitoring Kislyak, U.S. intelligence officials overheard him relaying to Moscow a request from Kushner to establish a "secret and secure communications channel" with the Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities. Kislyak reportedly was "taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team".
An agent of Emin Agalarov reportedly offered Donald Trump Jr. compromising information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government if he met with a lawyer connected to the Kremlin. A meeting took place on June 9, 2016, and included Kushner, Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort, who was then chairman of the presidential campaign, who met with Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower. According to Rinat Akhmetshin, who was also present at the meeting, Veselnitskaya claimed to have evidence of "violations of Russian law by a Democratic donor" and that the "Russian lawyer described her findings at the meeting and left a document about them with Trump Jr. and the others". The Democratic National Committee cyber attacks were revealed later that week.
As part of this investigation a congressional hearing regarding the Trump campaign–Russian meeting has been scheduled for July 26, 2017, where Donald Trump Jr. and Manafort will appear while Kushner will testify in a closed session.
On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named Senior Advisor to the President (formally, "Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor"). Kushner's appointment was questioned on the basis of a 1967 anti-nepotism law. On January 20, 2017, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating "the President may appoint relatives to his immediate staff of advisors." Kushner was sworn in on January 22, 2017.
Trump put Kushner in charge of brokering peace in Israeli–Palestinian conflict as well as making deals with foreign countries, although in what way he is in charge is unclear. Furthermore, after Donald Trump became President-elect, Kushner and his wife met with Japanese Prime Minister and other Japanese officials while his wife was conducting a licensing deal between her namesake clothing brand and a Japanese government-owned company. His wife sat in on a meeting between her father, then President-elect Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In February 2017, his wife Ivanka Trump was a surprise attendee at the Chinese Embassy's New Year's party. In late March 2017, he was also given the new role of leading the "White House Office of American Innovation" where Kushner reportedly has been focusing on improving governmental efforts with regard to Veterans Affairs, information-technology contracting and the opioid crisis.
According to The New York Times, Kushner was involved in the sale of $100+ billion of arms to Saudi Arabia, and during a meeting with Saudi officials on May 1, 2017, at the White House, Kushner called Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson to ask for a lower price on an radar system to detect ballistic missiles.
Kushner's business activities in China have drawn scrutiny for mixing government with business. Kushner's investments in real estate and financial services have also drawn controversy for conflicts of interest. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that he had failed to disclose all required financial information in his security clearance applications, including that he owes $1 billion in loans.
Kushner has a younger brother, Joshua, and two sisters, Nicole and Dara. He married Ivanka Trump, daughter of businessman and U.S. president Donald Trump, in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009. They had met in 2005 through mutual friends. Kushner and his wife, who converted to Judaism in 2009, are Modern Orthodox Jews, keep a kosher home, and observe the Jewish Sabbath. They have three children, born in 2011, 2013, and 2016. In 2017, federal disclosures suggested Kushner and his wife had assets worth at least $240 million and as much as $740 million. They also have a art collection estimated to be worth millions that was not mentioned in the financial disclosures initially, and enjoy visiting art studios.
Neither of them are Republicans... [Kushner] is a Democrat whose dad, Charles, was a bigtime donor to the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign.
Kushner co-founded Cadre in 2014... To get off the ground, Cadre turned to a Goldman Sachs fund and a number of high-profile investors... Cadre also secured a $250 million line of credit from the family office of George Soros... Soros' family office is also an investor in Cadre.
Kushner ... is currently in business with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and billionaires George Soros and Peter Thiel, according to people familiar with the matter and securities filings.. Wall Street Journal. p. 1.
Kushner did not list his part-ownership in a real-estate start-up called Cadre, whose investors include a Goldman Sachs fund ... and George Soros, the Democratic megadonor and favorite target of the Trumpian base.
‘There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,' a former school official told me. 'His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it.'
Charles and Seryl Kushner were both on [Harvard’s Committee on University Resources]... His sons Jared and Joshua had both enrolled there... In 1998 ... [Charles] had pledged $2.5m to Harvard ... [and] also visited Neil Rudenstine, then Harvard president, and discussed funding a scholarship program for low- and middle-income students.
Beyond the surprise [$18,000] donation, Kushner ... recruited students to Chabad’s programs, performed workaday tasks for the house and served as the emcee when Chabad dedicated a new building in 2003.
Kushner was vice president of 10 corporations as an undergrad, each of which operated as a part of Kushner Companies... Richard Stadtmauer, Jared Kushner’s uncle and the only other vice president ... listed in publicly available documents, was convicted of felony tax fraud in 2009 and sentenced to 38 months...
The elder Kushner hired a prostitute to entrap his brother-in-law and sent the tape to his sister, Esther, in an alleged effort to stop her from being a witness against him in a civil interfamily suit.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged the quartet with setting up a scheme to create false partnership tax returns for the Kushner Companies properties.
A jury ultimately convicted him of conspiracy and assisting in the filing of false tax returns. He was acquitted on nine other counts.
The Real Deal created a scorecard estimating how much in profits (or losses) all of the parties involved in 666 Fifth Avenue have walked away with. • Kushner Companies. Retail: Estimated profits of about $100 to $120 million. Office: Estimated current loss ... of more than $200 million.
Josh ... and Jared also cofounded Cadre, an online platform for investing in real estate, in 2014. Two years later, it raised $50 million from a group of big-name investors including Goldman Sachs ... billionaire George Soros's private equity firm and Russian billionaire tech investor Yuri Milner.
George Soros' Soros Fund Management has quietly been financing the Kushner-backed real estate finance startup Cadre with a substantial credit line, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Kushner went to a private Jewish high school and then to Harvard (a 2006 book about college admissions would later single out Kushner as a prime example of how children of wealthy donors get preferential treatment...).
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.
Trump today announced Jared Kushner will serve as Senior Advisor to the President... Kushner, a widely respected businessman and real estate developer was instrumental in formulating and executing the strategy behind President-elect Trump’s historic victory...
…serving as Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor.
By Democracy 21's analysis, Kushner faces two huge conflict-of-interest hurdles... The legal hurdle involves China... The federal conflict-of-interest laws cover not only Kushner's own holdings but also his spouse's holdings — in this case, trademarks and other business activities in China.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner ... will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business, ... according to ethics filings... The filing ... does not provide information on his business partners or lenders to his projects. His real estate firm has borrowed money from the likes of Goldman Sachs...
|Senior Advisor to the President
|New office||Director of the Office of American Innovation
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