Thursday, June 01, 2017


Here's a detail from Time magazine's cover story on Jared Kushner:
Even before he found himself, at age 36, as a senior counselor to the President, Jared Kushner’s life had the epic sweep and the dramatic reversals of a 19th century novel. There was a childhood in suburban Livingston, N.J., an Orthodox Jewish upbringing in a home that suggested little of the family’s wealth....
Really? Jared's childhood home "suggested little of the family’s wealth"? Here's how Curbed New York described the Kushners' Livingston house in 2011 when Jared's dad, real estate mogul and ex-felon Charles Kushner, put it on the market:
a 7-bedroom, 7-bath manse for $1,9995,000 with 18 rooms total and a "fluid and open flow" (fluid flow!). What else does the brokerbabble promise? A grand foyer with marble floor; glass central atrium; custom library; sunken family room with stone fireplace; a master suite with built-ins; kitchen with granite countertops; and an enormous basement with another kitchen, rec room, gym, sauna, and dry bar.
The Real Deal noted that the house "sits on a 30,550-square-foot lot," and added that Charles Kushner "previously told The Real Deal he’s lived in the mansion since 1981."

Jared Kushner was born in 1981.

Maybe the point is that the Kushners acted as if they weren't wealthy. As a 2009 New York magazine profile of Jared noted:
The Kushners mythologized themselves as scrappy outsiders. Charlie had volunteered as a firefighter, and he liked that his wife Seryl shopped at Costco.
Yeah, that's just like not being rich.


The Time story is also notable for suggesting that Jared is a victim of circumstance, trapped in a world he never made:
If one thing emerged crystal clear from the muddy first months of his father-in-law's presidency, it's that Jared Kushner prefers the background.

... The senior adviser to the President was also the cipher of the White House--never heard in public, a blank page on which an anxious public could write its hopes....

It's a situation that might have survived had Kushner remained in the dog-eat-dog world of Manhattan real estate.... But Washington is a town of rank and title, where secrets are hard to keep, official roles matter and the higher power of the Constitution looms. The quiet man is now conspicuous, having been slurped into the spotlight by the tentacles of a Russia investigation that produces headlines like Ford punches out trucks.
(Emphasis added.)

Yes he's been "slurped into the spotlight." It's something that happened to him, not something he brought on himself.

Elsewhere in the profile, there's this:
The bar to prove that someone improperly colluded with a foreign power is very high, and even the most aggressive investigators use a note of caution when speaking of Kushner's role in the probe. "He's an ends-justifies-the-means guy," says one U.S. official familiar with the investigation. "It could be naiveté, but the investigation is about finding that out."

Naiveté is no crime, but Washington's punishment of perceived incompetence can be swift and brutal.
A high-end real estate mogul who's approaching middle age is being treated as a person who almost certainly isn't guilty of an actual crime -- he's just naive, an innocent babe in the woods! And poor dear, if he's not careful he's going to get eaten alive by Washington for an innocent mistake!
Naiveté is no crime, but Washington's punishment of perceived incompetence can be swift and brutal. The political frenzy around the back-channel meeting--with some Democrats calling for the suspension of Kushner's security clearance--has left no visible dent in Kushner's supreme self-confidence. That has created its own problems. Alone among Trump's senior advisers, Kushner, 36, urged the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the official in charge of the Russia probe.

The ensuing, entirely predictable uproar resulted in the appointment of a special counsel, who will keep the probe alive for months. It also alienated the FBI rank and file. "[Trump] pissed off the building," says a former U.S. official familiar with the investigation. "Now they're doubling down twice as hard" on the probe.
The suggestion is that advocating Comey's removal was strictly a strategic error, because malign enemy forces with their own self-serving agendas are now inflicting punishment on the naive yet supremely self-confident young man and the president he serves, in a cruel, amoral form of Beltway vengeance. You'd never know that this looks like obstruction of justice, the cover-up of multiple crimes. Instead, it's treated as just a war of the bureaucrats, in which Jared and Donald are on the defensive just because of a tactical slip-up.

There are a few worthwhile nuggets in the story, but you won't miss much if you skip it. You won't learn much from it, but nothing in it will cause its authors to lose access to Jared, and that's what's important, right?

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