Senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner addresses accusations against him and the White House, family, and prison reform on 'The Ingraham Angle.'
INGRAHAM: So you have a big event that we’re going to get to, the First Step Act, a big celebration, a bipartisan celebration, in the White House, which is great because I don’t think we have enough of those. We’re going to get to that, because it’s a historic day in many ways, but we have to get to some of the news of the day first. And the left is going crazy about the security clearance issue.
And a whistleblower from the White House has now given a private interview on Capitol Hill with Democrats, and she says that 25 individuals were able to leapfrog over the career people’s concerns about security clearances, and they received security clearances, in her view, improperly. What’s your reaction for that?
KUSHNER: Well, I can’t comment for the White House’s process, but what I can say is that over the last few years that I’ve been here, I’ve been accused of all different types of things, and all of those things have turned out to be false. We’ve had a lot of crazy accusations, like, that we colluded with Russia. I complied with all the different investigations, whether it be the Senate, the House, the special counsel. I’ve sat for nearly 20 hours of interviews with them.
When I came to Washington, I had a very successful business career. I had extensive holdings. I disclosed all of my holdings for the Office of Government Ethics, and what I did with them is they told me what to divest, what to keep, what rules to follow. We followed all that.
INGRAHAM: she said there were grave concerns. She has grave concerns about potential national security implications. Do you pose a grave national security concern to the country, Jared Kushner?
KUSHNER: Look, I can say that in the White House, I worked with some phenomenal people and I think over the last few years, the president’s done a phenomenal job of identifying what are our national security priorities. She’s had a great team in place that are helping implement it.
And I hope I’ve played a good part in pushing those objectives forward. And I think, because of the president’s leadership, the world is safer today.
INGRAHAM: Do you get the sense that the Democrats keep moving the goal post on this? It strikes me as interesting that this comes out today after Mueller fizzles.
KUSHNER: Yes. Well, what I learned during the campaign is that there’s a big difference between what people in America care about and what people in Washington or in the media care about.
INGRAHAM: When you think about the First Step Act– I was reading back on what CNN was saying about it after it passed. It was like they couldn’t believe that Donald Trump would do something that would help disadvantaged people, people who’ve made big mistakes -- some of them, criminal mistakes, and it’s almost like they didn’t want to believe it could ever happen. Does that – does that disappoint you, because even when something that should be bipartisan is still viewed in a negative light? Odd.
KUSHNER: When we were approached with this issue and he saw how a lot of people leaving prison didn’t have the skill set and didn’t have – had so many obstacles preventing them from getting back on a path, he said, “Of course, that’s why they’ll go back and commit more crimes.”
So he thought it was good for public safety and also for these people to figure out how do we invest the resources to help them have a better chance of succeeding? And that’s something he did because he’s, I think, a very competent executive, but it’s also something he did because he has a big heart.
INGRAHAM: How much of it was because of your dad and what – your dad went to prison. He was convicted. He served time. What does he say about these kinds of issues with you?
KUSHNER: Well, that was a big part. I mean, that was why I was exposed to the issue. And had I just come in as a government employee with, you know, hearing from the top down about what a great job they were doing, I probably would have believed it.
But there’s so much more that we can be doing, and my experience in prison – with my family situation was I met a lot of different families, a lot of people who a lot of them are good people. They just made a mistake and the toll that it paid on – that it weighed on them and on their families was very disproportionate.
INGRAHAM: Where is the president’s thinking on the border closing? He’s sent out a lot of interesting tweets about closing the border. Where is he on that?
KUSHNER: Well, I think the president’s definitely made increased awareness to the issue. I think he’s weighing all the options, which is something that the president…
INGRAHAM: Pressuring Mexico – is this all to pressure Mexico?
KUSHNER: No, I think it’s to pressure everybody. This is something that needs a solution. One of the things I love about the president is he doesn’t let people hide form problems. You know, when there’s a problem, he makes people confront the problem, and he’s very creative about ways that he’ll look to find – to find a solution.
INGRAHAM: Are you going to get the USMCA passed through Congress?
KUSHNER: So I think it’s moving very steadily. To craft a deal, obviously, I’ve given a lot of credit to the president for creating the conditions for us to negotiate the deal, but I have to get a lot of credit to Ambassador Lighthizer who really did a brilliant job, not only in negotiating the deal, but also in terms of architecting what kind of deal he thought would appeal to all the different constituents.
And what we’re seeing now with the deal is that it’s something that really is a world-class trade agreement. It’s great for our farmers, great for American workers, great for industry, great for technology, and it’s all these things that will allow America to continue to be independent.