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If House Republicans are truly concerned about influence peddling for profit then investigate Jared, Ivanka and Donald
The Trump corruption is obvious!
Is GOP House Oversight Chair Rep. James Comer using his taxpayer funded committee to simply hurt President Biden and help Republicans or is he sincere about revealing people cashing in on their government connections?! In reality, we know the answer to this question. But for Comer the hypocrisy is about to become so glaring that it will savagely undermine his new so-called “investigation” into President Biden and his family.
Comer kicked off his committee’s investigation on Thursday into whether President Biden’s son, Hunter, his brother James and others in Biden world somehow finically profited off their connection to the President. Comer alleged—without any proof--in a letter to Hunter Biden that he and his associates “peddled influence to generate millions of dollars for the Biden family.” The House Oversight Committee’s press release touting the investigation declares, “The American people deserve transparency and accountability about the Biden family’s influence peddling.”
If Comer and the GOP are being straight with us about “transparency and accountability” when it comes to people or family members “peddling influence” to profit off political connections, then Comer must be readying similar letters to Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump. All three have in the past--or are currently—personally profiting from their time in the White House.
When it comes to Jared and Trump himself, we need to look no further for evidence demanding an investigation then Sunday’s blockbuster front page Washington Post article titled, “After helping prince’s rise, Trump and Kushner benefit from Saudi funds.” All Comer needs to do is simply read this article to see the parade of red flags that detail how Jared and Trump are pocketing big money from the Saudi government as payback for how both helped Saudi and their leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), while in the White House.
As the Post details, when Kushner and Trump left the White House, both were facing “unprecedented business challenges.” Trump had seen revenue from his properties plummeting plus his role in the Jan 6 attack made him even more toxic. Kushner was facing his own challenges, with his family business needing a $1.2 billion bailout.
Then came Saudi Arabia and MBS to the rescue! In the case of Kushner, just six months out of the White House, a fund controlled by MBS invested $2 billion in Kushner’s newly formed private equity firm, Affinity Partners. A panel that screens investment’s for the Saudi’s had raised concerns over this investment on a range of issues including, “the inexperience of the Affinity Fund management.” But the board headed by MBS overruled the panel and awarded the massive investment that will result a pay day to Kushner’s company of $25 million a year—not including profits earned from investments.
MBS coming to Kushner’s aid raises grave concerns that it is repayment for Kushner’s repeated lobbying in favor of MBS and Saudi while working in the Trump White House. The NY Times in a 2018 article detailed how Kushner and MBS had grown close early in Trump’s term. That relationship yielded benefits for MBS after US intelligence agencies determined that MBS had ordered the October 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for his public criticism of Saudi and the Crown Prince. As the Times reported, “Kushner became the prince’s most important defender inside the White House.”
Beyond that incident, as The Washington Post noted in Sunday’s article, Kushner used his influence in “persuading Trump to prioritize Saudi Arabia over the objections of top advisers.”
The Washington Post also laid out how Trump is profiting from his defense of MBS and Saudi while in the White House. After the US intelligence community released a report concluding that MBS had ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Trump publicly undermined the report’s conclusions and opposed releasing the report. He even vetoed a congressional bill to block arms sales to Saudi while authorizing billions of dollars in weapons sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Trump wasn’t shy about what he did for MBS, stating in a recorded interview with The Post’s associate editor Bob Woodward about the Saudi Prince: “I saved his ass.”
Now we see Trump being repaid by Saudi’s LIV Golf tour—which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund—holding a series of tournaments at his golf courses. Typically, for PGA events the course owner receives $2 to 3 million per event, as the Post reported. However, Trump has refused to reveal how much he’s pocketing from the Saudis--which is especially alarming given Trump is running for President in 2024.
Beyond that, the Trump Organization has recently secured an agreement with a Saudi real estate company that plans to build a Trump hotel in neighboring country of Oman as part of a $4 billion golf resort. As Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a government watchdog group stated about Trump’s 2022 deal with the Saudi real estate company: “The Trump corruption complex is back in business.”
The message is clear: Trump and Kushner defended MBS and now MBS is paying them back in cold hard cash!
Then there’s Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who—as a I noted in a 2019 CNN article—should’ve been investigated then by Congress for her obvious conflicts of interest that had been flagged by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonpartisan ethics watchdog. For example, CREW had raised concerns over Ivanka’s business receiving approval for three trademarks from the Chinese government in June 2018 on the very same date that sanctions were lifted by her father on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE—whose controlling shareholder is a Chinese state-owned corporation.
In later 2018, Ivanka received approval for 16 new trademarks from the government of China on a range of goods – from shoes and jewelry to voting machines. These approvals occurred while her father was negotiating a trade deal with China.
On Sunday morning, GOP Rep. Comer appeared on ABC where he was asked by host George Stephanopoulos if he would investigate Kushner and Trump given the new reporting about their profiting off of a Saudi. (Why the corporate media gives Ivanka a pass for her obvious conflicts is beyond me?!) At first Comer responded by stating, “I think everything is on the table." Then he immediately pivoted into partisan hack mode, claiming that since Kushner spoke to the Jan 6 committee he had already been questioned about his potential conflicts. Obviously, the focus of the Jan 6 committee was Trump’s coup, not Kushner’s Saudi deal. Then Comer backtracked even more saying IF Trump gets back in the White House, we will look at those possible conflicts.
Rep. Comer is correct that the “American people deserve transparency and accountability” when it comes to anyone profiting off political connections—especially when the people officially served in our government as with Ivanka, Kushner and the former President. If Comer is being honest, we should be seeing letters demanding the same info from these three as he sent to Hunter Biden.
But we know he won’t. Comer is doing nothing more than using our tax dollars in an effort to hurt President Biden and help the GOP. And that is as bad as any influence peddling out there!
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