Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience
.. Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico
.. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report.
.. The issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perceptions of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings
.. Kushner’s lack of government experience and his business debt were seen from the beginning of his tenure as potential points of leverage that foreign governments could use to influence him
.. Officials in the White House were concerned that Kushner was “naive and being tricked”
.. conversations with foreign officials, some of whom said they wanted to deal only with Kushner directly and not more experienced personnel
.. White House officials said McMaster was taken aback by some of Kushner’s foreign contacts.
.. Kushner came to his position with an unusually complex set of business holdings and a family company facing significant debt issues.
.. Officials from the UAE identified Kushner as early as the spring of 2017 as particularly manipulable because of his family’s search for investors in their real estate company
.. Not fully disclosing foreign contacts ordinarily would result in a clearance being denied, experts said.
.. One of his top business concerns was what to do with his family’s investment in 666 Fifth Ave. in New York, which the company bought under his direction for $1.8 billion in 2007, the highest price paid at the time for a U.S. office tower
.. leaving the company with a $1.2 billion debt that comes due in January 2019.
.. The Manhattan property has been a particularly nettlesome problem inside the government because Kushner’s company has sought foreign money on the project.
.. Kushner and his company had proposed a redevelopment plan that would double the building’s size, requiring major new investment.
.. They met with an executive of a Chinese-run insurance company, Anbang
.. They also discussed a possible investment by the former finance minister of Qatar
.. Questions have also been raised about whether Kushner discussed financing with a Russian banker. He met in December 2016 with Sergey Gorkov
.. The bank has said they talked about “promising business lines and sectors,”
.. With the deadline for the $1.2 billion debt looming, the company has continued to search for a lender. The redevelopment plan appears to be on hold
.. The company, which is privately held, has stressed that the Fifth Avenue property is a small fraction of its assets and that it is doing well financially.