House Democrats sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an investigation into White House adviser Jared Kushner for allegedly leaking classified information to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that was then used against his rivals and critics.
Last summer, Kushner, who is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, developed a close contact with bin Salman, who also goes by his initials, MBS.
Kushner would go on to visit the prince in Saudi Arabia in October of 2017 when he allegedly shared classified intelligence from the President’s Daily Briefing that eventually led to the arrest and imprisonment of several members of the royal family who oppose bin Salman, while others were tortured, and one man died. They were also forced to sign over their assets to the Saudi government.
The Intercept reported last week that:
“Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince. … MBS bragged to the Emirati crown prince and others that Kushner was “in his pocket.”
And that’s why six House Democrats, including Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.), Gerald Connolly (Vir.), Donald Beyer (Vir.), Pramila Jaypal (Wash.), Peter Welch (Vt.) and Ruben Gallego (Ariz.) sent a letter to Wray asking him to open an investigation to determine if Kushner illegally shared classified information with bin Salman that may have led to the arrests.
According to CNN, they wrote:
“We request the FBI open an immediate investigation to determine if these reports are accurate and to explore the extent to which information and sources may have been comprised. … While the President has the authority to declassify and share information, the President’s advisers do not.”.
Therefore, if Kushner shared the information, he broke the law. They finished the letter with:
“We urge the department to investigate these allegations, and we appreciate your attention to this matter.”
The request comes a month after Kushner lost his security clearance at the White House in the wake of revelations that Kushner used his position and access as a means to secure loans from foreign countries to pay down a debt he owes on one of his properties.
At least four nations targeted Kushner, thinking they can leverage Kushner by taking advantage of his financial situation and his lack of experience.
The Office of Government Ethics is already investigating Kushner, so an FBI investigation on top of that would be yet another blow to an administration that has been plagued by scandals.
Given his propensity for inappropriately using official meetings to conduct personal business, one has to wonder if Kushner hoped to gain financially by giving the Saudi royal family classified information.
Whether the FBI will open an investigation remains to be seen. After all, Trump has managed to oust FBI leaders who have opened investigations against him and his allies in the past, including former director James Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe. Trump would likely react poorly if his own FBI director approves an investigation into his son-in-law.
But if the FBI wants to remain an independent agency, it’s important that they not avoid conducting investigations just because Trump opposes them, especially when our national security and foreign policy is at stake.
Featured Image By Lori Berkowitz Photography Via Flickr/CC-By-2.0.