• Trump details 'America first' foreign policy views to NYT

    27/Mar/2016 // 280 Viewers

     

    WASHINGTON (AFP) -Donald Trump described his foreign policy as an "America first" approach that will stop the US from being systematically "ripped off."

    The Republican frontrunner, who has spent his entire career in business, gave the most in-depth discussion so far on foreign policy in a phone interview with the New York Times.

    During the conversation, he detailed his views on issues ranging from East Asian security to Syria, the Islamic State group and relations with allies such as Saudi Arabia.

    Trump said he was not an isolationist, but described the United States as a poor debtor nation that disproportionately funds international alliances such as NATO and the United Nations.

    Similarly lopsided relationships exist with allies such as Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, he said.

    "We have been disrespected, mocked and ripped off for many many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher," he told the Times.

    "So America first, yes, we will not be ripped off anymore. We're going to be friendly with everybody, but we're not going to be taken advantage of by anybody," he said.

    Trump slammed President Barack Obama's administration for seeking a political exit for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while simultaneously fighting the Islamic State group as "madness and idiocy."

    "I'm not saying Assad is a good man, 'cause he's not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it's ISIS," he said.

    The real estate developer said he would instead target the oil that provides a significant portion of the extremist group's funding, cracking down on underground banking channels to cut off the flow of money.


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  • Buhari Meets, Gordon Brown, Bill Clinton And Bill Gates

    27/Sep/2015 // 215 Viewers

    President Buhari and ex-President Obasanjo held a bilateral meeting with former British PM, Gordon Brown in the US yesterday. Buhari also met with Bill Clinton and Bill Gates.

    More pictures below.

    Source: Nigerian Eye


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  • Nigeria's Biafra Separatists See Hope in Trump - Voice of America reports

    28/Dec/2016 // 10340 Viewers

    FILE - A supporter of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu holds a Biafra flag during a rally in support of Kanu in Abuja, Nigeria, Dec. 1, 2015.

    ABUJA, NIGERIA —  The head of the Biafra separatist movement in Nigeria has written an open letter to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. The movement hopes Trump, who backed British voters' decision to leave the European Union, will also support a push for Biafra to win independence.
     
    The letter, sent by a Nigerian activist named Nnamdi Kanu, contains a forceful appeal to the U.S. president-elect.
     
    It says Trump's victory placed upon him a "historic and moral burden ... to liberate the enslaved nations in Africa," which it says are trapped in artificial boundaries designed to reinforce colonial domination.
     
    Kanu currently sits in a prison in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, charged with treason for supporting a movement calling for territories in southeastern Nigeria to break away and form a country called Biafra.
     
    Biafra tried to break away once before — in a three-year war starting in 1967 that left at least 1 million people dead, mostly from starvation.
     
    Kanu and other activists hope Trump will be sympathetic to a new push for Biafran independence.
     
    "[Trump] believes in the inalienable right of an indigenous people to self-determination and he has spoken it,” said Clifford Iroanya, a spokesman for the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra organization. “He has written it. He has acted it. We believe he will support indigenous people all over the world to self-determine."
     
    Disappointed in Obama
     
    Iroanya says he was pleased when Trump expressed support for Britain's decision to leave the European Union with a tweet on June 24 that said, "Self-determination is the sacred right of all free people."
     
    Biafra supporters say they too have self-determination, and should be allowed to break away from Nigeria.
     
    The Biafran movement was disappointed with outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, who they saw as a supporter of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
     
    FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2015.
     
    FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2015.
    "Then we felt that there is no point proceeding with talking to Mr. Obama because it will be like preaching to the choir. He is the backbone of Muhammadu Buhari," Iroanya said.
     
    Buhari was the one who ordered Kanu to be held in custody.
     
    Buhari, who had a long career in the Nigerian military, fought against Biafran independence when he was a young soldier and maintains a hard line against the Biafra movement.
     
    Kanu remains in custody on instructions from Buhari, despite orders from Nigerian courts and a regional West African court to release him.
     
    Opposition to war
     
    Many Biafra supporters do not want to return to war.
     
    Ifeanyi Nsionu was a 6-year-old boy when the Biafra War broke out in 1967.
     
    "We really suffered,” Nsionu said. “We were in a refugee camp. And then they were feeding us in the camp. It was horrible. We had to eat lizards. All these guys that are agitating for this Biafra thing, a majority of them are those who may not have witnessed this war. They do not understand what it is to be in a civil war."
     
    Nsionu says reaching out to Trump is not a bad idea, although he doesn't expect the U.S. president-elect to do much for Nigeria.
     
    "I did support Trump right from the beginning,” he said. “I wanted a complete change from Obama's policy. Obama's policy for Africa was not encouraging. I don't know the ideology of Trump now, but I know that Trump will be after America first. By the time he stays the next four years and he must have done what he wanted to do for America, he may begin to see what else is happening elsewhere."
     
    Nsionu can only hope that when that time comes, Trump will throw his support behind the Biafra movement.

    Original post appeared first on VOA world service


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  • Confusion as John Kerry warns Israel but Donald Trump takes strongly pro-Israel stance - BBC reports

    28/Dec/2016 // 3574 Viewers

     

    US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based on a two-state solution is in grave jeopardy.

    And he insisted UN condemnation of illegal Jewish settlements on occupied land was in line with American values.
    Israel's PM said Mr Kerry's speech was "obsessively focused" on settlements.

    Earlier, US President-elect Donald Trump tweeted in support of Israel, saying he would not allow it to be treated with "disdain and disrespect".

    He urged Israel to "stay strong" until he assumed office next month.
    On Friday, the US chose not to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlement construction, leading to an angry response from Israel.

    The issue of Jewish settlements is one of the most contentious between Israel and the Palestinians, who see them as an obstacle to peace and the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

    More than 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.


    What is the two-state solution?

    A "two-state solution" to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the declared goal of their leaders and many international diplomats and politicians.

    It is the shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent state of Palestine on pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel.

    The United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union, Russia and the United States routinely restate their commitment to the concept.

    Mr Kerry said: "The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state. That future is now in jeopardy."

    He added: "The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.

    "The result is that policies of this government, which the prime minister himself just described as more committed to settlements than any Israel's history, are leading in the opposite direction. They are leading towards one state."

    In his reply, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was disappointed with the US secretary of state's speech, which he said was "unbalanced".

    Mr Kerry, he said, had "paid lip service to the unremitting Palestinian campaign of terrorism" against Israel.

    The conflict, Mr Netanyahu added, centred on the Palestinians' refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist, but Mr Kerry "does not see the simple truth".


    Donald Trump has taken a strongly pro-Israel stance

    A spokeswoman for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Hanan Ashrawi, told the BBC that Palestinians had adhered to past agreements but the Israelis had not.

    "We have accepted the two-state solution and we've acted accordingly and we have honoured all our commitments as per the declaration of principles and the agreements," she said.

    "Unfortunately it's Israel that has violated all its commitments, all the agreements and that is constantly now stepping up, as John Kerry said... its settlement activities and in an insane manner that is... specifically planned to destroy the two-state solution."

    More to come? By Paul Adams, BBC diplomatic correspondent

    Barack Obama began his presidency with a flurry of diplomacy aimed at breaking the Arab-Israeli deadlock. It did not work and pretty soon, a succession of Arab revolutions and wars gave the president more pressing things to think about.

    Now, at the eleventh hour, another flurry, which has angered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    But could it help set the scene for future diplomacy? France is organising a peace conference in mid-January and it has been suggested that decisions taken there could form the basis of another UN resolution before 20 January, when President Obama leaves office.

    However, Donald Trump has made it clear he has no plans to push Israel into a corner.

    In two tweets issued on Wednesday morning New York time, Mr Trump said: "We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.

    "They used to have a great friend in the US, but... not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (UN)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!"

    Critics have urged the president-elect to use more conventional channels to communicate on international matters.

    Mr Netanyahu replied on Twitter: "President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!"

    The UN resolution passed last Friday stated that the establishment of settlements "has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace".

    The US decision to abstain infuriated Mr Netanyahu, who has taken diplomatic reprisals against the countries that voted in favour of the resolution.

    Meanwhile, an Israeli committee has postponed a vote to authorise construction of almost 500 new homes in Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

    The move apparently follows a request from Mr Netanyahu's office. 

    *Original post appeared first on BBC


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  • BREAKING: President TRUMP declares ban on Sharia Law

    28/Jan/2017 // 1544 Viewers

     

    Trump Just Declare Ban On Sharia Law. Do You Support This?

    There’s been so much debate over Donald Trump’s statement that the U.S. should ban all Muslims attempting to enter the country. We are going to look at one major question: is it lawful?

    This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

    “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

    That’s a statement from Trump explaining his plan to prevent terror attacks on U.S. soil—ban all Muslims from entering the country. This plan has been met with a lot of support from some, and condemned by others.

    “Do you know how to make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN.

    “We do not discriminate on people based on religion…,” Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson recently stated. “…never want to do that… have to be responsible… want to be Americans.”

    What Carson said there about not discriminating against people’s religion being part of the constitution, well, that is true for U.S. citizens. But that’s not what Trump said. He is talking about immigrants or people visiting from other countries. So citing freedom of religion doesn’t apply here.

    Still, the White House spokesman says this statement disqualifies Trump from the presidency.

    “What Donald Trump said yesterday, disqualifies him from serving as president,” said Josh Earnest, press secretary for the White House.

    But are those commentators and so called legal experts right? No, they’re not.


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  • JUST IN: Trump signs 'extreme vetting' order to keep Islamic terrorists out of US, gives priority to Christians who apply for refugee status - BBC

    28/Jan/2017 // 1140 Viewers

     

    US President Donald Trump has announced new vetting measures to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US".

    He signed a wide-ranging executive order which, among other measures, bans Syrian refugees until further notice.

    It also put a cap of 50,000 refugees entering the US in 2017 - less than half the previous upper limit.

    In a TV interview broadcast on Friday, the president said Christians would be given priority among Syrians who apply for refugee status in the future.

    He signed the executive order at the Pentagon after a ceremony to swear in Gen James Mattis as defence secretary.

    During the ceremony, Mr Trump said: "I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people."

    The text of the order was released several hours after it was signed. Among the measures are:

    *Suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Programme for 120 days

    *A ban on refugees from Syria until "significant changes" are made

    *A 90-day suspension on arrivals from Iraq, Syria, and countries designated "areas of concern"

    *To prioritise future refugee applications on the basis of religious-based persecution - but only if the person is part of a minority religion in their home country

    *A cap of 50,000 refugees in 2017 - less than half of Mr Obama's upper limit

    However, a mention of creating "safe zones" within Syria, seen in an earlier draft, was removed from the final order.

    The order also said all immigration programmes should include questions to "evaluate the applicant's likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society."

    Other measures include a broad review of the information required from all countries to approve a visa; a review of visa schemes between nations to ensure they are "truly reciprocal" for US citizens; and the immediate suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Programme.

    But the document also says exceptions to most restrictions could be made on a case-by-case basis.

    *Trump's 'extreme vetting' order sows panic

    *How a Syrian refugee gets to the US

    *Syrian refugees in the US, in graphics

    President Trump also signed an executive order aimed at rebuilding the military by "developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform".

    Last year, the administration of then-President Barack Obama admitted 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US. Neighbouring Canada - whose population is a ninth of that of the US - took in 35,000.

    During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump suggested a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on".

    But he has made no mention of this since being elected last November.

    The signing of the executive order has been met with criticism from Democrats and notable figures.

    Democratic Senator Kamala Harris wrote that the order had been signed on Holocaust Memorial Day. "Make no mistake — this is a Muslim ban," she wrote.

    "We have opened our doors to those fleeing violence and oppression for decades, by presidents on both sides of the aisle."

    "During the Holocaust, we failed to let refugees like Anne Frank into our country. We can't let history repeat itself," she said.

    Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Nobel Peace Laureate who was once shot by the Taliban following her advocacy for women's education in Pakistan, wrote that she was "heartbroken".

    "Today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war," she said.


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  • TRUMP FEVER: Iranian scientist, many refugees detained across US airports

    28/Jan/2017 // 1049 Viewers

     

    An Iranian scientist heading to a laboratory in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family heading to a new life in Ohio, are currently being detained in airports across the US.

    This is as a result of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

    In a report, The New York Times said the immigration policy “reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday”.

    Humanitarian organisations reportedly scrambled to cancel long-planned programmes, delivering the news to families who were about to travel.

    Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were also detained at airports.

    Trump’s order suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

    An official message to all American diplomatic posts around the world provided instructions about how to treat people from the countries affected.

    The newspaper said there was confusion at airports around the world, as travelers found themselves unable to board flights bound for the United States.

    In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and immigration officials reportedly turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in at least one case, ejected a family from a flight they had boarded.

    Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi, a leading young scientist in Iran, had been scheduled to travel in the coming days to Boston, where he had been awarded a fellowship to study cardiovascular medicine at Harvard, according to Thomas Michel, the professor who was to supervise the research fellowship.

    But Michel said the visas for the student and his wife had been indefinitely suspended.

    “This outstanding young scientist has enormous potential to make contributions that will improve our understanding of heart disease, and he has already been thoroughly vetted,” Michel wrote to The New York Times.

    “This country and this city have a long history of providing research training to the best young scientists in the world, many of whom have stayed in the USA, and made tremendous contributions in biomedicine and other disciplines.”

    A Syrian family of six who have been living in a Turkish refugee camp since fleeing their home in 2014 had been scheduled to arrive in Cleveland on Tuesday, according to a report in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Instead, the family’s trip has been called off.

    Earlier in the week, two Kenyans and 90 Somalis were deported from the US. - The Cable reports


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  • Woman Dies After She's Shot Through Chest With Crossbow Arrow Fired by Husband - Cops

    28/Jun/2016 // 424 Viewers

     

    A Philadelphia man allegedly killed his wife by shooting her with a crossbow, sending an arrow through the woman as she sat on a couch in their home, police said.

    Pamela Nightlinger, 42, stumbled to her next door neighbor’s home for help after her husband allegedly shot an arrow through her chest at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, authorities said.

    The arrow went through Nightlinger and the couch she was sitting on before penetrating a wall, officials said.

    Read: Husband Charged With Murdering Doctor Wife Who Was Found Stabbed in Their Mansion

    Nightlinger was found lying in a pool of her own blood near her neighbor’s front door, Philadelphia Police Captain Anthony Ginaldi told reporters.

    She was rushed to Aria-Torresdale hospital, where she died at 10:34 p.m., cops said

    Nightlinger and her husband— identified by relatives to WPVI-TV as 41-year-old Paul Kuzan— had been married since June 17, according to her Facebook page.

    Loved ones left messages congratulating the apparent newlyweds in what would only be a week before Nightlinger was killed.

    “Did you guys really get married?? About time. It’s always was meant to be,” one person wrote.

    But police said they had responded to multiple domestic violence calls at the couple’s home on Willits Road in Northeast Philadelphia, according to NBC 10.

    “Neighbors say things for him appeared to go downhill recently, in the last month or so,” Ginaldi told reporters.

    Residents and business owners at the strip mall across the street told WPVI-TV that Kuzan had been acting strangely recently.  

    Read: Cops: Man Shoots to Death Estranged Wife in Front of Their Six-Month-Old Twins

    “He was completely exposed,” Sean Thompson told the television news station. “A woman we thought was his sister — now we know, wife — came out with a robe and said he didn’t take his medication.”

    The couple is believed to have children from previous relationships who were not home at the time of the incident.

    Police said the motive behind the killing was domestic.

    Kuzan is expected to be charged in Nightlinger’s death on Monday.


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  • Racism: American-born African Teen Removed From Graduation for Wearing African Cloth

    28/May/2016 // 945 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MAY 28, 2016: (DGW)  According to ABC News a black teenager says he was escorted out of his high school graduation ceremony in Sacramento by three deputies for refusing to remove his kente cloth, a traditional Ghanaian silk and cotton fabric.

    This is one of such racism acts in the USA which has raised outcry among African Americans.

    Nyree Holmes said Saturday he wore the decorative cloth atop his graduation robes to have something that represented his culture during the ceremony at Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday.

    The 18-year-old student from Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove, California, says the school's student activities director told him he was violating graduation dress requirements. He says he tried to have a dialogue with him, but he wouldn't and instead tried to prevent him from walking onstage and called authorities.

    Holmes says that when he got off stage, there were three sheriff's deputies waiting to escort him out.

    He says the school principal met with his parents and apologized for the incident.


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  • Breaking: In father’s scandal, the genesis of Jared Kushner’s unflinching loyalty

    28/Nov/2016 // 468 Viewers

     

    Jared Kushner was just an undergrad at Harvard when politicians began receiving big-dollar campaign donations bearing his name.

    In reality, the money was sent by his father, a powerful New Jersey real estate mogul. Over the course of several years, Charles Kushner pumped half a million dollars into political campaigns, avoiding legal limits by attributing checks to family members and business associates without their knowledge. The scheme sent the elder Kushner to prison and engulfed the family in scandal.

    It was a defining and pivotal episode for Jared Kushner, now 35, who is poised to become one of the most trusted advisers to his father-in-law, President-elect Donald Trump.

    The donation scandal provides a glimpse of the privilege and influence that marked Kushner’s upbringing in a prominent family. But friends say it also reveals in Kushner a fundamental trait that Trump prizes and has strengthened their bond: unflinching loyalty.

    Far from seeing his father’s actions as a betrayal, the younger Kushner flew to Alabama almost every Sunday to visit his father during his 14 months behind bars. He took the helm of the family business. And he publicly insisted that his father was unfairly prosecuted.

    “Jared is a devoted son in an almost old-world sense of respect and duty and devotion,” said former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey (D), who counted Charles Kushner as his biggest donor until McGreevey resigned in 2004 amid a sex scandal.

    The same dynamic — this time between Kushner and Trump — played out on the campaign trail, when Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, publicly defended his father-in-law against claims that his rhetoric was fueling anti-Semitism and racism. And it seems likely to carry over into the White House, where Kushner is expected to play the role of informal gatekeeper and confidant to the president and may be entrusted with the enormous task of trying to broker an end to conflict in the Middle East.

    Kushner married into a family that, much like his own, keeps its business in the bloodline. He and Ivanka Trump were introduced at a business lunch, and ever since they got married, they have been trusted advisers to her father.


    During the campaign, Kushner and the elder Trump complemented each other with contrasting styles, according to multiple people who have observed them over the past year. Trump was brash and confrontational while Kushner was soft-spoken and discreet; Trump focused his energy on traditional media and rallies while Kushner worked with digital strategists to build a data operation.

    Kushner would often sit with Trump on the president-elect’s private plane, a Boeing 757 outfitted with cream leather couches, gold seat buckles and a big-screen television. He would quietly turn to Trump as they both read between stops — Trump rifling through a pile of printed articles, Kushner on his laptop or phone. They’d keep an eye on Fox News Channel, with Kushner whispering tidbits of information and the latest about the family.

    Kushner carved out a portfolio of sorts on foreign policy, with particular interest in the Middle East and Israel, and helped to shape Trump’s speech in March to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a well-received address during which Trump stuck to his prepared remarks.

    Trump told the New York Times last week that, once he is in the White House, Kushner would probably keep his role as an informal counselor and envoy to the Middle East, where Kushner already has close relationships with people close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Several Trump associates have said that Kushner will be a chief of staff in all but name, with wide-ranging — if sometimes hard-to-quantify — influence and a voice equal to incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

    Privilege and proximity to power
    Like his ascent in the family business, and perhaps even his Ivy League education, Kushner’s influence on the future president is partly a by-product of his proximity to power.

    Few families in the Northeast enjoyed more political wattage than the Kushners in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Jared Kushner’s grandparents, Holocaust survivors, had laid roots in New Jersey and started a family business in construction. Charles Kushner grew the company to encompass office buildings and thousands of condos and apartments. The Kushners gave millions to political, charitable and pro-Israel causes.

    As a teenager, Jared Kushner became accustomed to seeing national leaders pay their respects to his father.

    In 1997, when Kushner was just 16, then-President Bill Clinton made a stop at the corporate headquarters of the family business, lavishing praise on the Kushners during a speech. To mark the moment, the Kushners gave Clinton a shofar — a ram’s-horn musical instrument used in Jewish religious ceremonies.

    A year later, as Jared Kushner was starting to fill out college applications, his father pledged $2.5 million to Harvard, to be paid in $250,000 yearly installments, according to a book, “The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges,” by journalist Daniel Golden. Jared’s test scores were below Ivy League standards, Golden wrote, citing an unnamed official at the yeshiva high school in northern New Jersey that Jared attended. But he had powerful people vouch for him.

    Then-Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) made a call to the Harvard admissions staff on Kushner’s behalf — at the urging of a Democratic senator from New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg, who had received more than $100,000 in donations from Charles Kushner, according to the book.

    Jared Kushner was admitted.

    Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, said the suggestion that Jared Kushner’s acceptance was connected to his father’s gift to the school “is and always has been false.”

    “Jared Kushner was an honors student in high school, played on the hockey, basketball and debate teams. He graduated from Harvard with Honors,” she said in a statement.

    Kushner’s parents, she said, have donated more than $100 million to universities, hospitals and other charitable causes, she said.

    Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, founder of Chabad House at Harvard, who met Jared his freshman year and became close to the Kushner family, said that as a student Jared was devoted to his family and his Orthodox Jewish faith and had the mature bearing of a graduate student. He made the trip home to New Jersey to celebrate the smallest family milestones and celebrations.


    “His exceptional respect, devotion and love for his family always came across,” Zarchi said.

    A family embroiled in scandal
    That loyalty appears to have been tested as the Kushner family became embroiled in scandal.

    By the time Jared finished his studies at Harvard, nearly $90,000 had been donated to state and federal campaigns in his name, records show, almost entirely to Democrats. The giving spree pulled Jared into the crosshairs of the Federal Election Commission.

    Just before he began his senior year in 2002, a letter from the FEC addressed to the younger Kushner arrived at his New Jersey home, a 7,300-square-foot mansion in a wealthy suburban neighborhood. In the letter, federal regulators wrote that Jared Kushner appeared to have broken campaign-finance laws by contributing more than they allowed.

    Jared Kushner, who was later cleared when the donations were found to have come from his father, declined to comment on anything related to the investigation involving his father.

    Records also show that Kushner was among 15 people, whose names had appeared on checks for campaign contributions signed by his father, who were issued subpoenas by the FEC after initially not answering questions about donations.

    Although Kushner eventually cooperated with FEC investigators, it is not clear if he did so with prosecutors in the subsequent criminal investigation. In any event, the scandal does not appear to have damaged his relationship with his father.

    That was not true of other family members, including an uncle who had been cooperating with federal prosecutors; Charles Kushner apparently did not take lightly to the betrayal, records show. He paid a prostitute $10,000 to seduce his brother-in-law in a hotel room set up with hidden cameras to record the rendezvous. He later instructed a private detective to mail the tape to his sister as a warning — he wanted it to arrive at her house shortly before a family party, records show.

    Instead, she took the tape to the FBI, leading to Kushner’s arrest.

    Kushner learned of the arrest when his father called him on a July morning. Jared was on his way to an internship in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, he told New York Magazine in a 2009 interview. In the interview, he sounded more angry that the tape had been deemed illegal than he was about his father’s role in producing it.


    “They’re going to arrest me today,” Charles Kushner told him.

    “For what?” Jared Kushner recalled asking. “Is it because of the tape? I thought your lawyers knew about that. I thought it’s not illegal.”

    “Apparently they’re saying that it is,” his father said.

    Charles Kushner decided not to fight. He pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FEC, witness tampering and tax evasion stemming from $6 million in political contributions and gifts mischaracterized as business expenses. Among the allegations were that he paid for an unnamed individual’s private school tuition out of company accounts and declared them charitable contributions on his tax returns, according to court documents.

    He was sentenced to two years in prison. His son stood by him, visiting most weekends and insisting, as he still does, that his father’s prosecution was unjust.

    The flip side of loyalty
    If Charles Kushner taught his son deep loyalty, he may also have taught him its flip side, revenge — at the very least modeling that behavior with his decision to target his brother-in-law.

    For Jared Kushner, the evidence of whether he absorbed the lesson lies in his actions toward Chris Christie, the hard-charging federal prosecutor — and future governor of New Jersey, 2016 Republican presidential candidate and endorser of Donald Trump for president — who put the elder Kushner behind bars.

    A former law-enforcement source familiar with the nearly two-year criminal investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations, said Christie, a Republican, took an unusual interest in the Kushner probe. “He was very hands-on in that case,” said the person, who described Christie as privately “gleeful” at the outcome. In court filings, Christie’s office described Charles Kushner’s actions as “evil.”

    But the network of politicians Kushner had cultivated also whispered about another possibility: that Christie had targeted a major Democratic donor for political reasons.

    “I think a lot of people would say his prosecutions were political in nature,” former New Jersey governor Richard Codey, a longtime Kushner ally who is now a Democratic state senator, said of Christie.

    A spokesman for Christie told The Washington Post that the 135 corruption convictions he won as U.S. attorney in New Jersey were “not because of politics, but because all the individuals he charged were guilty.”

    Yet the arrest changed Jared Kushner’s career path: He no longer wanted to be a prosecutor.

    “Seeing my father’s situation, I felt what happened was obviously unjust in terms of the way they pursued him,” he told the Real Deal in 2014. “I just never wanted to be on the other side of that and cause pain to the families I was doing that to, whether right or wrong.”

    Instead, Jared Kushner took the family business across the Hudson River into Manhattan with audacious real estate acquisitions, selling his family’s portfolio of apartments in New Jersey and, in 2007, buying an office tower on Fifth Avenue, about three blocks south of Trump Tower.

    He also purchased the New York Observer, a Manhattan newspaper. Ross Barkan, a reporter there from 2013 to 2016, left the paper, he said in an interview, because the line between the Trump campaign and the paper’s editorial decisions had become “fuzzy.”

    For instance, Barkan said, the Observer published two stories that appeared to target Trump’s enemies at the time — one taking on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman after he sued Trump University, and another critical of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) during the Republican primary.

    Kushner also made a business decision that would give him a toehold in the world of New Jersey politics that Christie was about to inhabit. He bought a successful political gossip website called PolitickerNJ.com that was run by an anonymous blogger. Later, when Christie was running for governor in 2009, he suggested that Kushner was using the website to damage him.

    “It’s a Kushner-owned enterprise,” Christie said. “And I don’t think I’ll be getting Charles Kushner’s family’s vote come November.”

    Christie became governor of New Jersey. He was an early favorite for the Republican presidential nomination this year until Trump’s remarkable ascent. Christie dropped out and supported Trump, putting him in a position to get a key role in a Trump administration. But Kushner now was in a position to influence the fate of the man who had put his father behind bars.

    Speculation has swirled that Kushner helped convince Trump not to pick Christie to be his vice president. Friends said privately that Kushner was smart enough not to have made his argument a personal one. The residual damage from a Christie scandal that became known as Bridgegate was enough reason, they said.

    At it turned out, the anonymous blogger whose website Kushner had acquired was at the center of the scandal. The Christie administration had recruited David Wildstein away from Kushner’s website for a job as an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an agency that runs the region’s bridges and airports.

    Wildstein and two other Christie aides were convicted this year of closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge in an act of political revenge. The mayor of a town at the foot of the bridge had not endorsed Christie, and the lane closures choked the town with crippling traffic.

    Back on Dec. 7, 2013, the day after Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority amid growing evidence that he had ordered the lane closures, Kushner got in touch with him. In an email obtained by The Post, Kushner drew a parallel between Wildstein and his father, who had also resigned as a Port Authority commissioner in 2003 as questions began to percolate about Kushner’s campaign contributions.

    “Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and wishing the best. For what it’s worth, I thought the move you pulled was kind of badass,” Kushner wrote.

    Heller, the Kushner Companies spokeswoman, said this week that the message was a “poorly worded way of Jared trying to cheer up an old friend.”


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