Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son in law and soon to be senior advisor, held meetings with big Chinese investors about business deals just days after Trump was elected President, the New York Times reports.
On November 16, 2016, Kushner attended a meal in a private dining room of the restaurant La Chine at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Also in attendance was Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial firm with estimated assets of $285 billion.
The two men discussed a business deal regarding the redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, a 41 story Manhattan office building located between 52nd and 53rd Streets, which is owned by Jared Kushner’s family’s real estate empire. And now The Times is reporting that Mr. Xiaohui asked Mr. Kushner for direct access to the President Elect, Donald Trump.
Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal https://t.co/JeOMyVjNng
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 7, 2017
This is disconcerting news. Both Donald Trump and Jared Kushner have been under a great deal of scrutiny over perceived conflicts of interest. Neither has placed his holdings into a blind trust, as of yet, and Mr. Kushner is expected to hold a highly influential post in the Trump White House.
However, Jared Kushner had declared his intention to step down as chief executive of Kushner Companies.
The interesting thing here is that most people have been pre-occupied with Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia and not China. Quite the opposite, in fact. Mr. Trump has taken somewhat of a hostile position regarding China since long before his election as President of the United States. And just after his election, Mr. Trump caused a stir by excepting a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan which angered the Chinese government.
There is nothing new about influence peddling in the White House. American financial firms like Goldman Sachs have been represented in the Cabinet for decades. But this is different because it deals with business interest from a foreign power. And not just any foreign power, but the America’s current number one rival in the world.
So Jared Kushner will probably be under a lot of scrutiny in the future regarding his contacts with Chinese business people.