When former Trump administration money man Tom Barrack was indicted and arrested yesterday, we noticed something interesting. Even though Barrack is a west coast guy, it was the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York – based in Brooklyn – who ran the criminal investigation into him.
There are numerous reasons for how and why jurisdiction can play out the way that it does. But we did find it interesting that the EDNY who charged Barrack yesterday is the same EDNY that – according to the New York Times – was investigating Jared Kushner’s finances back in late 2017. Barrack and Kushner’s financial interests in the Middle East always seemed to be intertwined, particularly back in 2017.
The EDNY’s Kushner investigation apparently didn’t go anywhere; perhaps the Trump administration put a freeze on it. But now that the Department of Justice is free from Trump’s meddling, we’re suddenly seeing the EDNY charging Tom Barrack. We wondered if perhaps the EDNY has brought its Kushner case back to life, and is nailing Barrack to try to get him to flip on Kushner.
But Michael Cohen, who knows the Trump family better than just about anyone, has a different take. He tweeted this today: “Interesting how Jared Kushner (#SecretaryOfEverything) name appears to be absent from all the controversy, indictments and arrests. Is he next to fall or a cooperating witness? Knowing what a snake he is, I bet the latter!”
This is an intriguing possibility, to say the least. Now that Trump is out of power, various prosecutors are known to be investigating Trump and his associates left and right. The EDNY is targeting Tom Barrack. The SDNY is targeting former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Victoria Toensing. New York State is targeting the Trump family, the Trump Organization, and Allen Weisselberg, and so on. Yet in all of these Trump-centric criminal probes in 2021, Kushner’s name hasn’t publicly surfaced in any of them?
It’s also worth a reminder that just as the initial Trump Organization indictments were coming down, CNN ran a surreal story claiming that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump had decided to “distance” themselves from Donald Trump. The story obviously came from Jared and Ivanka’s camp, and it was clear that they were trying to signal to someone, somewhere, that they wanted no part of the indictments that were coming down the pike.
So it raises some interesting questions. Has the EDNY indicted Tom Barrack because it wants to flip him against Jared Kushner? Has Kushner flipped, and helped the EDNY with its case against Barrack? There’s no way to know what’s going on yet. But Michael Cohen is correct in that Kushner’s seeming absence from any of these cascading Trump-related criminal investigations is certainly conspicuous. If Kushner did flip, he wouldn’t stop with Barrack, right? How far would he go?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report