Trump Senior Adviser Kushner Travels to Iraq

Cheryl Sanders
April 10, 2017

In its eagerness to prematurely confirm that Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was in Iraq, the administration broke the traditional protocol and endangered American military personnel in the area, as well as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, who was traveling with Kushner.

Dunford's spokesman, navy Captain Greg Hicks, said Kushner was travelling on behalf of Trump to express the president's support and commitment to Iraq's government and United States personnel helping combat ISIS.

The official, who confirmed the trip late Sunday, wasn't authorized to speak about confidential meetings by name and demanded anonymity.

Dunford invited Kushner and Homeland Security Adviser Thomas Bossert to receive an update on the campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS, a spokesman for Dunford told reporters.

The trip to Iraq comes as Iraqi security forces engage in fierce, house-to-house fighting to retake Mosul, ISIS's last major stronghold in Iraq and the city where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate almost three years ago. The spokesman added that Kushner was "traveling on behalf of the president to express the president's support and commitment to the Government of Iraq and US personnel now engaged in the campaign".

Kushner, 36, is part of Trump's innermost circle and has been given domestic and foreign policy responsibilities, including working on a Middle East peace deal.

Kushner is the latest Trump associate swept into the probe into contacts with Russian Federation.

While the new strategy remains under White House review, USA and coalition commanders on the ground are already looking past the looming endgame in Mosul and Raqqa. They will be meeting with Iraqi, American and coalition officials.

Kushner's wife Ivanka, the 35-year-old first daughter, also plays a key role in advising her father.

Gen. Dunford told reporters en route to Iraq the invitation extended to the White House officials, which was only revealed Sunday, was to provide the White House "first-hand and unfiltered" assessment of the US -led campaign against Islamic State.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently presented Trump with the outlines of a comprehensive approach to defeating IS and other extremist groups on a global scale, but specifics have yet to be worked out. The second travel ban, which restricts immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, has been halted by a federal court. The U.S. Justice Department has announced an appeal.

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