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: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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