Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has bragged with his royal peers about having the ability to influence White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, going so far as to say the president’s son-in-law was “in his pocket” during a conversation with the United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.
That’s the latest report about the embattled 37-year-old senior adviser, who was previously tasked with establishing peace in the Middle East before his top-secret security clearance status was stripped by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. A source “who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers” shared insight with The Intercept on conversations Kushner had with MBS during an unannounced trip to the region in late October.
Via The Intercept:
What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so.
“Some questions by the media are so obviously false and ridiculous that they merit no response. This is one. The Intercept should know better,” said Peter Mirijanian, a spokesperson for Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell.
On November 4, a week after Kushner returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in official Washington by his initials MBS, launched what he called an anti-corruption crackdown. The Saudi government arrested dozens of members of the Saudi royal family and imprisoned them in the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, which was first reported in English by The Intercept. The Saudi figures named in the President’s Daily Brief were among those rounded up; at least one was reportedly tortured.
The report goes on to state Kushner had been using the messaging app WhatsApp to directly communicate with MBS and the UAE crown prince, though his attorneys have since advised him to stop.
….Some of those they are harshly treating have been “milking” their country for years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2017
Meanwhile, as MBS ousted former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and launched an “anti-corruption crackdown,” President Donald Trump was tweeting his support for the controversial move, writing “they know exactly what they are doing.”
The president welcomed MBS to the capitol on Tuesday, telling reporters the relationship between both nations is “probably the strongest it’s ever been.”
Meanwhile, The Intercept’s report sheds light on what may be happening behind the scenes in Trump’s White House as the administration decides how to handle its role in the Middle East. Democratic lawmakers have called into question the president’s stance on an ongoing dispute involving Qatar, a strategic ally with a large U.S. military base.
“We could not understand why the Trump administration was so firmly taking the Saudis’ side in this dispute between the Saudis, the Emiratis, and Qatar, because the United States has very important interests in Qatar,” Sen. Chris Murphy recently said on ABC’s This Week.
“If the reason this administration put U.S. troops at risk in Qatar was to protect the Kushners’ financial interests, then that’s all the evidence you need to make some big changes in the White House.”
[image via screengrab]
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