Comer says Kushner 'crossed the line of ethics' with Saudi deal
By The Citizen on August 11, 2023
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said Thursday that Jared Kushner, former President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser while in office, “crossed the line of ethics” by accepting a $2 billion investment from the Saudi government in his private investment firm six months after he left the White House.
In an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Comer acknowledged an argument made by 2024 GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie, who noted Kushner’s extensive work in the Middle East on behalf of the Trump White House and claimed in an earlier interview “the Trump family has been involved in grifting for quite some time.”
Comer, however, sought to draw a distinction between Trump’s family business dealings and President Biden’s family’s, which Comer suggested he viewed as more severe.
“I’ve been vocal that I think that what Kushner did crossed the line of ethics,” Comer said on CNN when asked to respond to Christie’s claim. “What Christie said — it happened after he left office. Still no excuse, Jake, but it happened after he left office. And Jared Kushner actually has a legitimate business. This money [to] the Bidens happened while Joe Biden was vice president while he was flying to those countries.”
Rep. James Comer Jr., R-Ky., Chair of the Oversight and Accountability Committee, attends a committee hearing with IRS whistleblowers, Wednesday, July 19, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Comer has been leading the Oversight panel’s probe into the Biden family and has secured testimony claiming Hunter Biden, the president’s son, leveraged his father’s position as vice president to sell the “illusion of access” to help in his personal business dealings. The panel has not found evidence, however, that President Biden committed any crime.
Kushner served his father-in-law in an official capacity as a senior adviser while Trump was president. He met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on behalf of the Trump administration and played a key role in defending the Saudi government after the U.S. concluded the crown prince had approved the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi for criticism of the kingdom.
In 2022, the House Oversight panel, under Democratic leadership, launched a probe into the $2 billion investment Kushner secured from the Saudi Private Investment Fund (PIF), which is controlled by the crown prince.
“Your close relationship with Crown Prince bin Salman, your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump Administration, and PIF’s decision to fund the lion’s share of your new business venture — only six months after the end of your White House tenure — create the appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work during the Trump Administration,” former Oversight Chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to Kushner at the time.
In the interview Thursday, Comer defended the probe of the Bidens and insisted the ultimate goal is to change the way Washington works so people cannot benefit from the high-powered jobs their family members have.
“We’re trying to do that,” Comer said when asked about changing the way Washington works. “That’s been the goal from day one is to have a legislative fix. A lot of the President’s defenders, especially in the media, say that, ‘Well, this influence peddling is a cottage industry in Washington.’ Well, it needs to change.”