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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

In the media, the focus is on the son. In the West Wing, colleagues are watching the son-in-law.

Some colleagues have started to wonder if he and Ivanka will return to New York for this school year, at least a year ahead of plan. But we're told he has made no moves to do that. Others note a change in his demeanor amid the growing Russia probe: less swagger, more concern.

Why it matters: Kushner is the one figure in the Russia probe who helped run the campaign, the transition and the White House. No one has spent more time with Trump throughout the past year — and has seen or knows more.

Several top officials describe Jared Kushner in very similar ways: a good guy with good intentions, now under rising scrutiny because of a combination of naiveté and hubris.

  • He was used to how things were done in business (and New York real estate, no less) — whereas in public life, anything can come out, and everything is under a microscope. This was true for many inside Trump Inc. during the fast-and-loose days of the campaign and transition.
  • "Everything is being treated as bigger than it is, but he's in the big leagues now," said a Republican friendly to Kushner. "He's trying to bravado his way through his lack of experience."

What worries Jared allies are three meetings, with a Russian lawyer (the Don Jr. meeting), banker and diplomat.

  • The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told NBC News' Keir Simmons that Kushner left the meeting after seven to 10 minutes of the 20- to 30-minute meeting. And the reddest flag about the meeting ("part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump") was on the fourth page of the email that Don Jr. forwarded to Jared — subject line, "Russia - Clinton - private and confidential."
  • Jared's defense: Jared has the most impressive legal team of any of the family members, including two of the biggest names in the business, Jamie Gorelick and Abbe Lowell.
  • Gorelick said in a statement: "[D]uring the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition. Mr. Kushner has submitted additional [federal disclosure] updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows."
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Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 mins ago - Economy & Business

Get ready for more debt ceiling drama

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was bliss while it lasted — which was exactly two years. Right now, the U.S. has no limit on the amount of debt it can issue. But that ends on Saturday.

Why it matters: Brace yourself for another round of unedifying posturing and brinkmanship, all of which should result — after a period of entirely unnecessary fiscal contortion — in the debt ceiling being raised (not abolished) sometime this fall.

Olympic athletes see more sponsorship opportunities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tokyo 2020 athletes are cashing in on more personal sponsorship opportunities compared with past Games.

Why it matters: Marketing deals are an important income stream for competitors, nearly 60% of whom say they are not financially stable. 

5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Biden adviser Donilon touts infrastructure deal

Mike Donilon. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

One of President Biden’s closest advisers, Mike Donilon, believes swing voters want Congress to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, and embrace solutions where the two parties "meet in the middle,” according to a memo first reported by Axios.

Why it matters: While Biden has faced doubters — especially in his own party — about his ability to work with Republicans, a core group of advisers, including Donilon, is convinced the president’s political fortunes rest on his ability to transcend partisanship.

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