White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner is accused of assuming “direct control of foreign policy” and meddling in day-to-day functions of the National Security Council, as well as the Defense and State Departments, according to administration sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Kushner, who is married to President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has taken “aggressive action to micro-manage the NSC,” according to administration sources who described Kushner’s behavior as “highly unusual and damaging to the country’s national security infrastructure.”
Specifically, sources at the NSC described frustration with Kushner’s influence over key foreign policy portfolios, including China, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.
NSC staff are having difficulty performing basic duties, such as formulating talking points and statements on high profile issues, which must first be approved by Kushner.
“Kushner is meddling in a lot of things,” said one NSC official who spoke to the Free Beacon. “Such direct control of foreign policy from the West Wing has never happened before. It just creates a lot of drama. People just don’t know how to deal with it. We’re respectful of his position, but it’s confusing the policymaking process.”
In addition to officials at the NSC, staff at the Defense and State Departments “are not happy that Jared is so powerful in foreign policy,” said one White House official. “They are expected to implement the president’s agenda, but have no input or ability to get ideas in front of Jared. It’s a one-man show and that’s creating a lot of frustration.”
In an attempt to micromanage day-to-day functions at the NSC, Kushner reportedly engineered the appointment of Dina Powell as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy.
Powell, who advised Kushner’s wife Ivanka during the transition, served as a managing director and partner for Goldman Sachs following service in the Bush administration. She is listed as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.
Outgoing Deputy National Security Advisor KT McFarland, now pegged as ambassador to Singapore, was likely ousted to make way for Powell to assume more power; McFarland was a close ally of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
“Jared has been pegged as the ‘shadow secretary of state,'” said the same White House official. “But in a way he’s kind of also the shadow national security adviser and secretary of defense.”
The White House released a statement denying the allegations, claiming the NSC is “running beautifully.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” a White House spokesperson said. “The NSC is running beautifully under the leadership of General McMaster who has installed an exceptional team to execute on behalf of the president.”