Trump and Kushner profited from close Saudi ties: Report
Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner established close ties with the Saudi royal family when they were in the White House and now they are profiting from the relationship with billions of Saudi dollars flowing into their businesses, according to a report.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday quoting US administration sources that Trump and former White House senior adviser Kushner used their positions in government to ensure they profited when re-entering the private sector.
“The financial links between the Saudi royal family and the Trump family raise very serious issues,” Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told the Post. “When you factor in Jared Kushner’s financial interests, you are looking right at the cat’s cradle of financial entanglements.”
Democrats have launched congressional investigations into Trump’s and Kushner’s ties to Saudi Arabia. They argued there is no precedent for how the two men have relied so extensively on Saudi investments in their businesses after helping Saudi Arabia’s then-deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) while in office, the newspaper added.
The lawmakers said that such business ties could leave them indebted to the Saudi crown prince if Trump returns to the White House after winning the 2024 election
While in the White House, Trump admitted that he “saved” bin Salman in the wake of the CIA’s finding that the crown prince ordered the brutal murder of Post contributing opinion columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. He used to be a vocal critic of the Saudi regime and the crown prince.
The CIA concluded in 2018 that MBS had ordered the killing of Khashoggi, contradicting Saudi Arabia’s insistence that the crown prince had had no prior knowledge of the plot.
The prince has denied ordering Khashoggi’s killing but acknowledged later that it took place “under my watch.” Saudi officials later blamed “rogue agents” for the journalist’s murder.
Trump, who had already refused to directly implicate MBS, then defied his own country’s intelligence agency by saying that the CIA assessment was “very premature.”
Former White House officials said that Trump and Kushner used their offices to set themselves up to profit from their relationship with the Saudi princes after leaving the White House.
“I think it was an obvious opportunity for them to build their Rolodexes,” John Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser, said in an interview. “And I think they were probably hard at work at it, particularly Jared.”
“Why should Jared be worried about the Middle East?” Bolton said. “It’s a perfectly logical inference was that had something to do with business.”
Some six months after leaving the Trump administration, Kushner secured a $2-billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, chaired by bin Salman.
Kushner’s firm structured those funds in such a way that it did not have to disclose the source, according to previously unreported details of Securities and Exchange Commission forms reviewed by The Washington Post.
Trump, too, has profited from post-White House Saudi investments. Trump’s golf courses started hosting tournaments for the Saudi fund-backed LIV Golf a year after his administration ended. Meanwhile, the Trump Organization secured an agreement with a Saudi real estate company that plans to build a Trump hotel as part of a $4 billion golf resort in Oman.
The significant investments by the Saudis in enterprises that helped both men financially came after they established close ties with the prince while Trump was in office.
They empowered the crown prince by scheduling Trump’s first presidential visit to the kingdom, backing him amid many international crises and meeting with him repeatedly in Washington and Riyadh.
Trump declined to comment. His spokesman, Steven Cheung, responded: “President Trump is the most pro-America president in history and used his superior negotiating skills to ensure this country is never beholden to anyone.”