Kushner is currently facing potentially massive ramifications for a disastrous $1.8 billion real estate deal he struck a decade ago. The slew of new stories suggest that he may have orchestrated a foreign policy crisis to pressure Qatar to bail him out. Months later, a firm linked to Qatar gave him a staggeringly large loan. All of these events suggest how Russia might have delivered a possible quid—a potential payment from a huge oil sale through back channels—in return for a Trump administration quo—a reported promise of reduced sanctions.
…All of this should be considered an incredible scandal in its own right, worthy of serious congressional inquiry. Once you factor in, however, the portions of this that are consistent with some of the allegations in the Steele dossier, the stories potentially become even more explosive.
…The Steele dossier alleges that Russians made a deal with Carter Page in the summer of 2016 to sell 19 percent of fossil fuel giant Rosneft, a multibillion dollar deal, and secretly transfer benefits to Trump officials. The dossier alleged that Page was a campaign intermediary to meet personally with Russians, and that Igor Sechin—the CEO of Rosneft and a close Putin ally—and Page had held a “secret meeting” to discuss “the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia.” The dossier further alleged that Sechin offered Page the brokerage of a 19 percent stake in the company in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia.
…The Rosneft sale was right after Trump’s victory but before the inauguration. It was also right after Kushner’s push for a secret communications link to the Kremlin through the Russia embassy that U.S. intelligence couldn’t access, and right before Kushner’s meeting with Putin’s banker and confidant Gorkov.
…Page contradicted himself on whether sanctions were ever discussed. Page first said nothing Baranov “said to me ever implied or asked for anything related to sanctions.” In his very next breath, he confesses “there may have been some general reference” to sanctions.
…His testimony and his emails confirm that Page got advance approval from high-ranking Trump officials like Sam Clovis to go to Russia for that July trip, and he communicated with Trump officials immediately after the trip congratulating them for a stunning pro-Russia change in the Republican Party platform on Ukraine policy.
…The bottom line is that all this new Kushner news connects more dots in the Steele dossier’s core allegation: that there may have been a quid-pro-quo of Russian oil money for Trump policy change on sanctions. There are still obviously a lot of loose and unknown threads here and no direct evidence yet that Russia is behind any of the Qatari deals. Depending on which dots Mueller is himself able to connect, however, the latest evidence would also strengthen any possible charges against Kushner and a slew of Trump officials, as well as any potential case of obstruction of justice against the president himself. Finally, there is still the even more alarming question about whether the Trump family businesses’ conflicts of interest almost led the president to escalate a regional dispute to the brink of armed conflict. In light of the Steele dossier and how Qatar might implicate Russia, Kushner and Trump have even more to answer for.