Aug 25, 2019

Scoop: Jared Kushner tells donors ex-prisoners are joining the GOP

Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

Jared Kushner told Republican donors that felons are coming out of jail and registering as Republicans, according to sources who attended a donor retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, last week.

Behind the scenes: "I guess climate change is not their No. 1 issue," Kushner joked of the former prisoners, according to sources who attended the dinner where Kushner spoke. The audience of Republican donors burst out laughing at this comment, these sources said. The remarks came as Kushner and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussed the prison reform bill that Trump signed into law at the end of the last Congress.

  • Through his remarks, Kushner was trying to solidify Republican support for prison reform, 1 of 4 sources who attended the dinner said. He praised the policy, but also made a political argument for pushing criminal justice reform, citing recent statistics he said he'd seen of ex-felons registering as Republicans in Florida.
  • Kushner said that if one of his predecessors had cared as much as he does about prison reform then "it would have changed my family." He was referring to his father, Charles Kushner, who went to jail in the mid-2000s after pleading guilty to tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering.

What we're hearing: Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser made these comments during a staged conversation with McCarthy at a dinner Tuesday at the Wyoming ranch of John L. Nau III, a major beer distributor and Republican donor. More than 100 donors dined under a tent by the Snake River, with mountains in the backdrop, these sources said.

  • In the same conversation, Kushner described the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that he helped negotiate as "the best trade deal in the history of the country," a source in attendance said.
  • And Kushner said the president cares less about the politics of a China deal and more about "doing the right thing" with respect to pushing back against China in what has become a global problem, another source familiar with his remarks added.

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Architect of Trump's Middle East peace plan to depart White House

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White House special envoy for the Middle East peace process Jason Greenblatt will be leaving the Trump administration in the next several weeks to return to the private sector.

Why it matters: Greenblatt is a key member of the White House Middle East "peace team," which consists of Jared Kushner, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Kushner deputy Avi Berkowitz. In June, the White House rolled out the economic component of its peace plan. It has yet to reveal the political component due to upcoming Israeli elections.

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145 CEOs urge Senate to pass gun control legislation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

145 top CEOs signed a letter urging the Republican-controlled Senate to act on gun control by passing legislation already introduced by Democrats, reports the New York Times.

The big picture: Corporate America is taking the lead in tackling gun control. Multiple retail companies, including Walmart and CVS, are asking customers to not openly carry firearms in their stores. After a deadly shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people, Walmart stores stopped selling ammunition for handguns and assault rifles.

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Bernie Sanders becomes first candidate to reach 1 million individual donors

Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday became the first 2020 contender to announce reaching 1 million individual donors, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Donor sourcing is a hot-button issue for Democrats, with several progressive candidates opting to only accept grassroots donations during the primary. Sanders' campaign staff said he pledged not to accept high-dollar contributions into the general election as well, should he get the Party nomination.

Go deeperArrowSep 19, 2019