11 July 2017

While We Are on the Subject of, Treason, Bribery, or Other High Crimes and Misdemeanors ………

It does appear that Donald Trump (père, not fils) may have been using his position as President in an attempt to secure a bailout for a disastrous real estate deal made by Jared Kushner.

Specifically, Trump's immediately taking the side of the House of Saud in their dispute with Qatar on Twitter may very well have been retaliation for their turning down a deal with his son-in-law:
Not long before a major crisis ripped through the Middle East, pitting the United States and a bloc of Gulf countries against Qatar, Jared Kushner’s real estate company had unsuccessfully sought a critical half-billion-dollar investment from one of the richest and most influential men in the tiny nation, according to three well-placed sources with knowledge of the near transaction.

Kushner is a senior adviser to President Trump, and also his son-in-law, and also the scion of a New York real estate empire that faces an extreme risk from an investment made by Kushner in the building at 666 Fifth Avenue, where the family is now severely underwater.

Qatar is facing an ongoing blockade led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and joined by Egypt and Bahrain, which President Trump has taken credit for sparking. Kushner, meanwhile, has reportedly played a key behind-the-scenes role in hardening the U.S. posture toward the embattled nation.

That hard line comes in the wake of the previously unreported half-billion-dollar deal that was never consummated. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Jared Kushner and his father, Charles, negotiated directly with a major investor in Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, known as HBJ for short, in an effort to refinance the property on Fifth Avenue, the sources said.

Trump himself has unsuccessfully sought financing in recent years from the Qataris, but it is difficult to overstate just how important the investment at 666 Fifth Avenue is for Kushner, his company, and his family’s legacy in real estate. Without some outside intervention or unforeseen turnaround in the market, the investment could become an embarrassing half-billion-dollar loss. It’s unclear precisely how much peril such a loss would put Jared’s or his family’s finances in, given the opacity of their private holdings.

HBJ, a former prime minister of Qatar who ran the country’s $250 billion sovereign wealth fund, is a billionaire and one of the world’s richest men. He owns a yacht worth $300 million called Al Mirqab, the same name he gave to the private investment firm that Kushner pitched. The former emir of Qatar summed up HBJ’s power with a quip: “I may run this country, but he owns it.”

HBJ ultimately agreed to invest at least $500 million through Al Mirqab, on the condition that Kushner Companies could raise the rest of a multibillion refinancing elsewhere. The negotiations continued long after the election, carried out as recently as this spring by Charles Kushner. “HBJ basically told them, we’re good for 500, subject to a lot of things, but mainly subject to you being able to raise the rest,” said one source in the region with knowledge of the deal. The talks were confirmed by two additional sources with knowledge of the talks. One of those sources claimed that the potential deal was not contingent on the rest of the money being raised and that the HBJ investment was on hold as the overall structure of the financing was reconsidered. None of the sources would agree to talk on the record about a private financial transaction that has until now remained a secret.

………

The revelation of the half-billion-dollar deal raises thorny and unprecedented ethical questions. If the deal is not entirely dead, that means Jared Kushner is on the one hand pushing to use the power of American diplomacy to pummel a small nation, while on the other his firm is hoping to extract an extraordinary amount of capital from there for a failing investment. If, however, the deal is entirely dead, the pummeling may be seen as intimidating to other investors on the end of a Kushner Companies pitch.

………

On June 6, President Trump took sides, taking credit for the moves by the Gulf nations.






On June 9, after Saudi Arabia and the UAE had begun to blockade Qatar, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to calm nerves, calling for mediation and an immediate end to the blockade.

Within hours, Trump, at a White House ceremony, contradicted Tillerson, slamming Qatar again and claiming it had “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

Trump’s White House remarks, Tillerson came to believe, had been written by UAE Ambassador Yousef Al-Otaiba and delivered to Trump by Jared Kushner.
(emphasis mine)

This is Teapot Dome level crap.

It's easy to understand, and the violation of the law is clear.

What's more from a power politics perspective, if this becomes a major political issue, it would scare off any potential investors for 666 5th Avenue, which would likely cripple the Kushner Company empire when the balloon payment comes due.


Quoting Billy Ray Valentine from the movie Trading Places, "The best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people."

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