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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

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of Trump loyalist Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”