Jared Kushner leads US delegation to Mexico for visit with president

Posted on: March 7th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, will be making a trip to Mexico Wednesday as the head of U.S. delegation meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Kushner has seen an increase in unwanted attention over the past few weeks after a series of embarrassments. First and foremost, Kushner had his security clearance downgraded by Chief of Staff John Kelly under strict new White House rules over interim clearances.

Nonetheless, the president has tabbed the husband of daughter Ivanka to meet with Peña Nieto, a neighbor Trump has rarely seen eye-to-eye with on a number of issues. Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray will also be present for talks, according to the Mexican government. Kushner will be joined in the U.S. delegation by officials with the National Security Council and State Department.

Kelly stripped all White House staff who had yet to pass an FBI background check of their interim clearances. Kushner’s background investigation stretched 15 months while officials examine significant issues in his application, sources have told ABC News. Privately, the president has raised questions of his closest advisers about recent reporting on Kushner’s White House role and potential ties to his family business, musing that the couple may have to go, sources told ABC News last week.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that Kushner has “got to go” if reports were true his position on a Qatar blockade were shaped by his family’s business interests.

Kushner’s visit to Mexico is not a minor one, though. It was just two weeks ago that plans for a visit to the U.S. by Nieto were cancelled after a testy call with Trump. An official told ABC News in late February that Trump brought up his much-touted border wall in the phone call and reiterated his campaign promise for Mexico to pay for it.

“The two leaders mutually agree now was not the immediate right time for a visit, but that they would not their teams continue to talk and work together,” the official told ABC News.

The border wall is just one of a host of issues the two countries have battled over since the early stages of Trump’s presidential campaign. In Trump’s campaign announcement two years ago he singled out Mexicans crossing the U.S. border, saying they’re “bringing crime,” “bringing drugs” and are “rapists.” An NSC spokesman told ABC News last month, however, that the two countries have “a great relationship.”

The Mexicans say the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting will cover the “diverse topics of the bilateral agreement.” It’s unclear how much will be discussed about border security, but it’s likely the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be discussed as well.

Trump tweeted early Monday that his proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel could “come off” for Mexico and Canada if a “new and fair” NAFTA agreement is signed.

“We’ve had a very bad deal with Mexico, a very bad deal with Canada — it’s called NAFTA,” Trump said in a press conference Monday. “For many years, NAFTA’s been a disaster.”

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