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Jared Kushner, advisor and son-in-law of President Trump Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

A Singapore-based American businessman with connections to the North Korean government attempted to use President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, to create a back channel between the White House and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which played a part in the leaders' historic meeting in Singapore, The New York Times reports.

The details: Sources told The Times that Kushner didn’t play a direct role in back-channel negotiations with North Korean officials. Instead, he referred the financier, Gabriel Schulze, to then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo and requested that the agency take the lead. The Times notes that Kushner and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a tense relationship.

  • The White House and CIA declined to comment to the Times about Schulze’s contact with Kushner.

The backdrop: North Korea had reportedly targeted Kushner as someone immune to the White House's turbulent staff changes — and who was close enough to Trump to catch his ear.

  • Be smart: This disclosure gives another peek into the Trump White House's unconventional style where personal and family ties can shape U.S. foreign policy.

Flashback: Kushner has also reportedly created a back channel between Chinese officials and the White House last year after he and Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai organized a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

  • His active involvement in China policy has triggered concerns amid reports that his company was negotiating with a Chinese firm to invest millions of dollars in his family’s Kushner Companies' flagship property in Manhattan.

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.