Jared Kushner did not keep officials at the U.S. embassy in Riyadh in the loop about his meeting with members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family last week. Kushner reportedly met with King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This is raising concern with the embassy staff, as well as with certain members of Congress.
The Daily Beast reports that, according to the White House, Kushner — Donald Trump’s son-in-law — traveled to Riyadh to discuss “U.S.-Saudi cooperation, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and economic investment in the region.”
Concern was raised when no one from the U.S. embassy was involved in the event, nor the planning of the meeting between Kushner and the Saudis. A State Department official focused on Iran did attend the meeting along with Kushner, but he is not stationed in Saudi Arabia, a congressional source explained.
“The Royal Court was handling the entire schedule. But that is normal for his past trips.”
Kushner, who has developed a friendship with Mohammed bin Salman, communicates with the crown prince personally via WhatsApp, a secure internet messaging system. Kushner has also made trips to Saudi Arabia previously, without prior notice. On several occasions, Kushner traveled with Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.
More shady dealings by the Trump family. https://t.co/HoW0u9HdGn
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) March 7, 2019
It is the convention that when members of the presidential administration travel overseas, the local embassy aids in the coordination of the trip, and helps to provide security. But for this latest meeting, the Saudi government provided security for Kushner. U.S. embassy officials claim that they were kept in the dark about the meeting, Kushner’s schedule, and the communications of his meeting with the crown prince and King Salman.
A spokesman for the White House denies that this is the case.
“This reporting is not true and the sources are misinformed.”
Politico reports that this was particularly disturbing to some members of Congress, as it was Kushner’s first known meeting with his Saudi contacts since the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Politico contacted the State Department to ask if the death of Khashoggi was covered in the meeting between the Trump administration senior adviser and the Saudi royal family, and they were referred to the White House. Multiple sources contacted did not respond.
When asked about the death of Jamal Khashoggi in December, Donald Trump said he was standing with MBS who claimed to know nothing about the death and dismemberment of the journalist at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, says The Inquisitr.