Quick Takes: A Not So Good, Very Bad Day For the Javanka Duo

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* All of the sudden we are being flooded with news that is really bad for Jared and Ivanka. Just today, four new stories broke. The first one comes from NBC News.

Federal investigators are scrutinizing whether any of Jared Kushner’s business discussions with foreigners during the presidential transition later shaped White House policies in ways designed to either benefit or retaliate against those he spoke with, according to witnesses and other people familiar with the investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has asked witnesses about Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for his family’s real estate properties, focusing specifically on his discussions during the transition with individuals from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, according to witnesses who have been interviewed as part of the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 election.

* The second one comes via The Intercept.

The real estate firm tied to the family of presidential son-in-law and top White House adviser Jared Kushner made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio, according to two sources. At the previously unreported meeting, Jared Kushner’s father Charles, who runs Kushner Companies, and Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi discussed financing for the Kushners’ signature 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York City…

The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors. Led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Kushner’s backing, led a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. Kushner, according to reports at the time, subsequently undermined efforts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to bring an end to the standoff.

* The third one comes from AP.

The Securities and Exchange Commission late last year dropped its inquiry into a financial company that a month earlier had given White House adviser Jared Kushner’s family real estate firm a $180 million loan.

While there’s no evidence that Kushner or any other Trump administration official had a role in the agency’s decision to drop the inquiry into Apollo Global Management, the timing has once again raised potential conflict-of-interest questions about Kushner’s family business and his role as an adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

The SEC detail comes a day after The New York Times reported that Apollo’s loan to the Kushner Cos. followed several meetings at the White House with Kushner.

* CNN brings Ivanka into the discussion.

US counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing one of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The FBI has been looking into the negotiations and financing surrounding Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, according to a US official and a former US official. The scrutiny could be a hurdle for the first daughter as she tries to obtain a full security clearance in her role as adviser to President Donald Trump.

* How is Papa Trump responding to all of this?

President Donald Trump has asked chief of staff John Kelly for help in pushing his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner out of their official White House positions even has he encourages the two to remain as aides, the New York Times reported Thursday night, citing unnamed White House aides.

Trump has also said that his daughter and son-in-law should have never come to the White House, according to the New York Times.

* Trump’s talk about a trade war is harshing the buzz Republicans were trying to get out of their lies about tax cuts. Here’s John Podhoretz:

The truth is that protectionism of the sort Trump will actively be practicing here isn’t about protecting the interests of American consumers. In fact, it’s a war against American consumers, because its explicit purpose is to raise the price of goods from abroad that’ll allow US manufactures to produce the same stuff at higher cost to make it worth their while to build facilities and hire workers.

Let’s say this works and over the course of a decade, 150,000 more people are employed producing steel. That sounds terrific — except there are 330 million American consumers. Think of it this way: Every single person in the United States is a consumer.

Trump has been taking victory laps over the GOP tax cuts that passed last year. But with this economically absurd action, he’s also effectively raising taxes on 330 million and privileging 150,000 workers whose jobs don’t even exist yet.

* If you support Obamacare, here is what Sen. Orin Hatch thinks about you:

Speaking about the massive GOP tax overhaul at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday, the Utah Republican took some time to blast the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“(We) finally did away with the individual mandate tax that was established under that wonderful bill called Obamacare,” Hatch said. “Now, if you didn’t catch on, I was being very sarcastic. That was the stupidest, dumbass bill that I’ve ever seen.”

“Some of you may have loved it. If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumbass people I’ve ever met,” Hatch added.

* You’ve probably heard about gerrymandering. But how about dummymandering?

* Finally, my response to this is simply, “Oh my, yes!”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.