Intercept: Saudi crown prince bragged about Kushner relationship

Jared Kushner, tasked by his boss and father-in-law, President Donald Trump, with mediating Middle East peace early i...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 5:38 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 5:38 AM

Jared Kushner, tasked by his boss and father-in-law, President Donald Trump, with mediating Middle East peace early in the administration, has so far staked a bulk of those efforts on the ascendant Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

And according to a new report, the Saudi prince -- known casually by his initials, MBS -- took advantage of that power.

When Kushner, Trump's senior aide, made an unannounced trip to Riyadh last year, the Intercept -- citing three sources -- reported Wednesday, MBS told confidants after the meeting that Kushner had discussed Saudi leaders who are disloyal to the crown prince.

One person "who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers" told the Intercept that MBS bragged to United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed that Kushner was "in his pocket."

The Intercept also reported that Kushner's information on Saudi royals not loyal to MBS was contained in the President's Daily Brief, a document presented to the President every morning. Kushner lost his access to the document earlier this year when new security clearance rules were instituted.

Eager to consolidate power and rein in the sprawling orbit of the Saudi royal family and aristocratic class, Prince bin Salman listened intently and a week later cracked down on corruption in the country by imprisoning more than 200 members of the country's ruling class inside the confines of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, charging each with corruption.

"What we did in Saudi Arabia was extremely necessary," the Saudi crown prince told CBS in his first interview with a Western outlet. "All actions taken were in accordance with existing and published laws."

A spokesman for Kushner declined to comment on the allegation. But a spokesman for Kushner's lawyer -- Peter Mirijanian -- slammed the report.

"Some questions by the media are so obviously false and ridiculous that they merit no response. This is one," he said.

The report comes a month after The Washington Post reported that officials from at least four countries -- Mexico, Israel, China and the United Arab Emirates -- have discussed ways they could use Kushner's intricate business arrangements, lack of experience and financial woes to manipulate the senior White House aide.

Mirijanian called the story nothing more than "unnamed sources peddling secondhand hearsay with rank speculation."

Kushner and MBS have fostered a close relationship for months, White House officials told CNN, and the top White House aide played a key role when the Saudi prince visited the White House this week.

Correctly viewing MBS as ascendant in the Muslim nation, Kushner worked for months earlier in the administration to build close ties with him. And when the prince's 82-year-old father, King Salman, handed over some power earlier this year, the two grew closer.

Kushner, in an effort to deepen that bond, took an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia in October 2017 where he met directly with the crown prince.

The two also met on Tuesday night at Kushner's home, the Saudi Embassy said Wednesday.

Joined by top White House negotiator Jason Greenblatt, the embassy said "discussion focused on the shared interests of both countries for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how best to achieve that."

MBS is in the middle of a goodwill tour across the United States. After visiting the White House and meeting with congressional leaders, he is slated to travel to Boston, New York, San Francisco and other American cities to meet with top representatives from the technology, business and education communities in the United States. The trip is part of MBS' campaign to sell the Western world on his view of his country's future.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 352891

Reported Deaths: 7597
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24704451
DeSoto23619283
Harrison21395335
Jackson15984255
Rankin15957294
Madison11224227
Lee10952180
Jones9316171
Forrest9136163
Lauderdale8211244
Lamar736590
Lowndes7253152
Lafayette6658125
Washington5681140
Pearl River5396155
Oktibbeha506598
Bolivar5022134
Warren4828128
Panola4823112
Marshall4759106
Pontotoc455773
Neshoba4487181
Hancock444488
Union441479
Monroe4390138
Lincoln4247116
Pike3771114
Leflore3696125
Alcorn362474
Tate356188
Sunflower351794
Adams350690
Scott349177
Yazoo344877
Copiah333569
Simpson329191
Itawamba318581
Tippah316569
Coahoma316385
Covington305584
Prentiss304163
Leake291976
Marion291882
George285851
Wayne282345
Grenada272488
Newton269264
Tishomingo241670
Stone240038
Winston238484
Jasper236248
Attala229974
Chickasaw222760
Clay204654
Holmes204374
Clarke190480
Tallahatchie185842
Smith184936
Calhoun184632
Yalobusha174241
Walthall151249
Lawrence146426
Greene144735
Amite140144
Noxubee137635
Perry137038
Montgomery134644
Carroll127531
Webster125132
Jefferson Davis121334
Tunica116627
Benton108425
Claiborne106131
Kemper105029
Humphreys102533
Franklin88724
Quitman86819
Choctaw83619
Wilkinson79632
Jefferson72328
Sharkey52018
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 595816

Reported Deaths: 11561
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson865251591
Mobile50436872
Madison37905534
Shelby27652260
Tuscaloosa27422465
Montgomery26428628
Baldwin26175329
Lee17414181
Calhoun15549334
Morgan15265291
Etowah15106372
Marshall13248236
Houston12297294
Elmore11006220
St. Clair10903252
Limestone10867158
Cullman10643206
Lauderdale10374255
DeKalb9603193
Talladega9032188
Walker7873288
Autauga7635114
Blount7463140
Jackson7450117
Colbert6780142
Coffee6515132
Dale5803117
Covington4864125
Russell483543
Chilton4828117
Franklin465681
Tallapoosa4591156
Escambia457583
Chambers4007125
Dallas3756164
Clarke374663
Marion3490107
Pike336979
Lawrence3280100
Winston301973
Bibb293766
Geneva293083
Marengo263867
Barbour254361
Pickens247962
Butler243672
Hale236979
Fayette228565
Henry218845
Monroe206941
Randolph203844
Cherokee201748
Washington189439
Macon172252
Crenshaw171758
Clay167659
Cleburne161845
Lamar152638
Lowndes146555
Wilcox132731
Bullock126542
Conecuh123032
Coosa119729
Perry111228
Sumter110933
Greene99937
Choctaw64525
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