On this here blog, we’ve briefly touched on the NYT Mag story about the Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s $2 billion investment in Jared Kushner’s fledgling private equity group. The investment is ridiculous on its face since Kushner has catastrophically mismanaged every valuable thing that ever dropped into his pale, soft hands, including a newspaper, a real estate firm and the U.S. pandemic response.
As the NYTM piece details, the advisory panel for the Saudi sovereign wealth fund raised all kinds of objections to the deal, finding after due diligence that the operation of Kushner’s outfit was “unsatisfactory in all aspects.” But the final decision was Mohammed bin Salman’s, and he approved the deal faster than a Saudi hit squad could kill and dismember a journalist.
As NYTM notes, “Ethics experts say that such a deal creates the appearance of potential payback for Mr. Kushner’s actions in the White House — or of a bid for future favor if Mr. Trump seeks and wins another presidential term in 2024.” Ya think? Josh Marshall nails it here:
This is possibly the largest and most brazen instance of public corruption I’ve seen in twenty five years covering American politics as a journalist…
Trump’s son-in-law, callow and hungry, had taken over administration Middle East policy, in the expectations of the big money pay offs the Saudis especially but not only them could provide to the Trump-Kushner family. And here we are with what is certainly just one example of the pay off. We knew it was coming but the sheer scale of it, the sheer openness of it, is bracing to see.
But it’s not just the big money payoff to the tune of over $2 billion. The relationship continues. There’s little question that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, now totally controlled by MBS, continues to work on behalf of the Trump/Kushner family and against the Biden administration.
I think that last point is spot on and perhaps should be amplified by the administration itself and/or Democrats more broadly. The Biden admin recently asked the Saudis to increase production to ease fuel prices, and they blathered about the war in Yemen and basically told us to go pound sand.
We’ve morally compromised ourselves as a nation by propping up that corrupt band of medieval fanatics for decades to act as a hedge against oil shocks, and this is the thanks we get? Fuck that noise.
I’m not a lawyer, but I assume Kushner isn’t breaking any laws by cashing in on his former White House gig and working with a foreign regime that has every incentive to undermine the present administration while working toward the restoration of its predecessor. That should be illegal.
If I were a White House advisor, I’d think about calling on Congress to pass legislation to that effect and look into ways to communicate the situation to the American people, who are pissed off about high gas prices and not big fans of the Saudi regime — or the greedy Trumps.
Whatever “messaging” problems the Dems may or may not have, it’s pretty clear that inflation and high fuel prices are killing us right now. Some political analysts say the party will struggle in the midterms because Trump won’t be on the ballot and people will vote based on how they feel about the country’s situation during the Biden presidency.
Well, this massive corrupt deal might be a way to put Trump back on the ballot and point out that the Saudi monarchy and other greedy, corrupt shitheads are benefiting from the high fuel prices that are breaking American budgets. The sovereign wealth fund advisors warned MBS that the relationship with Kushner could create “public relations risks.” I’m all for making that prediction come true.