Ivanka Trump under scrutiny

Ivanka Trump under scrutiny
One of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals is reportedly under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The daughter of the US President Donald Trump..

One of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals is reportedly under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The daughter of the US President Donald Trump has incurred criticism in the past for working in the White House.

Background

Ivanka Trump is the daughter of US President Donald Trump. She is also a model and businesswoman and helped run her father’s many businesses in the past. She has also started her own ventures that include a fashion line and a lifestyle blog. She has also written books and has starred alongside her father in a reality TV show called The Apprentice.

She is currently a senior advisor to the President of the United States, Donald Trump. Her appointment in the White House caused controversy. Many stated that this was a clear case of nepotism. In early 2017, she stepped down from her post at the Trump Organization; the organization also removed images of Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump from their websites. Even though the First Lady has traditionally handled a number of duties in the past, Melania Trump, has largely kept out of the spotlight. Some have noted that Ivanka Trump has stepped into the role as an unofficial “First Lady” in addition to working out of the White House. Her duties have not been clearly defined but she has attended many meetings and recently she briefed South Korea President on the nuclear impasse in the region.

She is married to Jared Kushner, who also serves in the White House and is a real estate mogul in his own right. He is the elder son of real-estate developer Charles Kushner.  He was the chief executive officer of the real-estate holding and development company Kushner Companies, and of Observer Media, publisher of the New York Observer. According to latest reports, his real estate business is reportedly struggling, and he is currently in deep debt. Latest revisions in the financial disclosure forms signed by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump revealed that the couple’s debts are at a range of approximately $31 million to $155 million. Since joining the White House in 2017, he has drawn more money out of three separate lines of credit.

Analysis

Previously Ivanka Trump’s businesses have been heavily criticized. Trump himself has been a strong proponent of “Make in America” movement. In 2017, an investigation from the Washington Post revealed that much of Ivanka Trump’s products are made exclusively in countries like Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Since January 2017, her apparel brand has imported 56 containers from China and Singapore. A total of 215 containers of Ivanka Trump products were made from Asia since January 2016. Additionally, details emerged that the factories in China offer poor working conditions. Workers are underpaid and do not receive benefits.

In recent weeks, Jared Kushner has come under fire for his business ventures and his debts. This has resulted in him losing his security clearance within the White House. In a report from the Washington Post, officials from four countries -  the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico - have discussed how Kushner’s debts and his business could be manipulated for their own personal gain. 

CNN has now reported that the FBI is now scrutinizing one of Ivanka Trump's international business deals. The investigation is about ongoing negotiations and financing regarding Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver (Canada). This particular development was opened in February 2017. The Trump Organization does not own the building and gives licensing rights instead. This is the standard operating procedure for most properties that carry the Trump tag. Trump Organization made more than $5 million in royalties and $21,500 from this property alone. It is owned by a wealthy businessman in Malaysia called Joo Kim Tiah. It is presently unclear as to why this particular transaction and property is under additional scrutiny by the FBI.

The White House has meanwhile dismissed CNN’s reports and noted that this is nothing out of the ordinary. "CNN is wrong that any hurdle, obstacle, concern, red flag or problem has been raised with respect to Ms. Trump or her clearance application," said Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump's ethics counsel. "Nothing in the new White House policy has changed Ms. Trump's ability to do the same work she has been doing since she joined the Administration."

Assessment

Our assessment is that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s multiple international businesses make the White House vulnerable to manipulation. Foreign nations can easily take advantage of their debts and this puts them in a precarious situation. Additionally, Kushner is also reportedly under the scanner of the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the presidential elections.  Kushner’s loss of security clearance may also pave the way for the couple to depart from the White House and resume their own private businesses. 

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