Jared Kushner's close relationship with the man who runs one of the Kremlin's biggest sovereign wealth funds provides yet another installment in the Trump-era series, You just can't make it up.
When 45 ventilators arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in March on a plane bearing a Russian Federation insignia, just about everybody was surprised, according to reporting by The Daily Beast.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been clamoring for backup ventilator support, thinking naturally that support would come from the U.S. government. State Department officials were equally thrown by the shipment.
"Despite a department press release announcing the delivery, several senior officials working on the Russia portfolio in the department and elsewhere in the national security apparatus were unaware exactly how the 45 ventilators had ended up on American soil," according to the Beast.
It turns out half the shipment was funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a national sovereign wealth fund run by Kirill Dmitriev, who just happens to be an ally of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump adviser and son-in-law Kushner. In fact, the mysterious shipment had been arranged by Kushner personally in coordination with Dmitriev. How damning: the U.S. government both wouldn't and couldn't meet the needs of the states getting slammed by the pandemic, so Kushner turned to Russia for help.
But that's not even the worst of it. Ultimately, both New York and New Jersey scrapped the ventilators because they turned out to be faulty. Good god, Kushner is truly among the least competent human beings on the planet, right behind Trump.
Anyway, Kushner's stellar acquisition of faulty ventilators appears to be the result of his transition-period efforts to set up a "back-channel" to Russia—the kind that would be undetectable by the CIA and FBI. Kushner first mentioned such a setup during his Trump Tower meeting in early December 2016 with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
According to the Beast, Putin himself tasked Dmitriev directly with connecting to Trump’s transition team, per the recent report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. Dmitriev used George Nader as a liaison and ultimately met up with Trump associate and Betsy DeVos sibling Erik Prince in that now-infamous Seychelles meeting that Prince tried to pass off as a chance run-in on a remote island.
In any case, Kushner's suspicious ties to the Kremlin continue, and they yielded 45 defective ventilators, right when America needed them most. According to the Beast, that Kushner-Kremlin back-channel has led to a lot of suspect policy choices.