Renewed request to Kushner: Hand over $2 billion Saudi investment docs
Democrats look for records connected to a $2 billion investment by a Saudi fund in Jared Kushner's private equity firm, which he founded as Donald Trump's son-in-law and former advisor.
Six months after leaving the White House, Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner got a $2 billion investment from a fund managed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key supporter throughout Trump's presidency.
Previously undisclosed documents unmasked that a panel that reviews assets for the primary Saudi sovereign wealth fund had concerns about the proposed agreement with Kushner's newly created private equity business, Affinity Partners.
In a related development, a senior Democrat renewed a request for documents outlining how Jared Kushner received $2 billion from a Saudi investment fund on Tuesday, acknowledging that Kushner had failed to respond to an earlier inquiry and raising new questions about whether he had "improperly traded" on his government work to benefit his financial interests.
Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-MD), the House Oversight and Accountability Committee's senior Democrat, referenced a Washington Post story published Saturday and other publications he said raised troubling questions about Kushner's relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Unsurprisingly, MBS chaired a sovereign wealth fund that invested in Kushner's private equity business, known as Affinity Partners, just after Kushner left a White House job that dealt often with Saudi matters.
“I am deeply troubled by your continued refusal to produce documents regarding the Saudi government’s $2 billion investment in your fund in light of recent prominent reporting that Saudi Arabia made that investment in Affinity just months after you left a senior White House position where you were responsible for shaping Middle East policy,” Raskin wrote to Kushner.
Raskin also asked Kushner to name all foreign investors in his company.
It is worth noting that Kushner did not reply quickly to a request for comment.
Raskin's letter followed a request for the documents from the committee, which was controlled by Democrats at the time.
While Kushner's firm provided roughly 2,000 pages in response, Raskin revealed in his letter on Tuesday that they primarily consisted of publicly available records that "do not substantively pertain to the Saudi government's involvement in the firm." When the committee followed up in October, the company's legal officer did not answer, as per Raskin.
But, in a statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday, Comer said he would not sign Raskin's letter, which might make it more difficult for House Democrats to seek information from Kushner.
“Ranking Member Raskin and Committee Democrats have a long way to go to prove they are interested in true oversight after having spent the past two years giving the Biden Administration a free pass,” Comer said.
“If Democrats want to join Committee Republicans in our ongoing efforts, including investigating Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s suspicious business schemes with foreign adversaries, then we can discuss joining together on future requests. Until then, Committee Republicans will continue seeking answers for the American people about the current Administration’s activities,” he added.
In further detail, Raskin's appeal is expected to be taken up by the Senate Finance Committee and its chairman, Senator Ron Wyden (R-Ore.).
“The financial links between the Saudi royal family and the Trump family raise very serious issues, and when you factor in Jared Kushner’s financial interests, you are looking right at the cat’s cradle of financial entanglements,” The Post quoted Wyden as saying last week.
In an interview on Tuesday, Raskin said that, while he still hoped Comer would cooperate, "we will definitely work with our partners in the Senate to get all of the information we need in order to conduct a thorough and detailed investigation of all of the conflicts of interest that we need to learn about."
Raskin added he was “not going to allow this to be some kind of lopsided partisan witch hunt. Let’s have a serious investigation into public policy and the profound ethical concerns that have been raised.”
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A symbiotic relationship: Kushner and MBS
As President Donald Trump's senior advisor, Kushner worked closely with MBS, who rose to the position of the crown prince in part due to his ties to the Trump administration, which offered arms sales and other perks.
Trump also supplied key assistance by refusing to confirm the CIA's conclusion that Mohammed ordered the execution or capture of Jamal Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post who had been critical of the crown prince's policies. Trump has claimed to have "saved" MBS, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in his recent memoir that Trump instructed him to meet the crown prince and "tell him he owes us."
LIV Golf, which holds tournaments on Trump's golf clubs, has also received funding from the Saudi Public Investment Fund. It's unknown how much Trump made from the deal. A request for a response from a Trump official was not immediately returned, as per media reports.
Addressing Kushner in his letter, Raskin wrote, “Your efforts to protect the Crown Prince may have allowed him to maintain his position at the top of the Saudi government and, thus, his ability to deliver significant financial benefits to you and your father-in-law after the end of the Trump Administration.”
When the committee approached Kushner's company in June, it answered that it had "nothing to hide" and was "committed to collaborating with the Committee to provide appropriate data, documents, and information to further inform your investigation."
Raskin stated that while Affinity ultimately submitted some records, it "failed to disclose a single correspondence connected to the basis for your firm's acceptance of $2 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund."
The congressman requested that the papers be delivered by March 1.
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