The Union of Kushners and Triumphs looks like Kismet

If Kushner was moved by Gorkov’s thoughtful gifts, he did not yield to Congress or to Mueller’s investigators. But Bernstein sees the symbolism. The bag of land, he writes, “remembered the bags of land that Rae Kushner,” Kushner’s grandmother, “and his family had dug from the ground and hidden in the walls of the Novogrudok ghetto so that the Nazis would not know they had dug a tunnel to be safe. Dramatic enough on its own. But Bernstein sees a deeper meaning that he wants us to know is lost in his subjects, the Kushners and the Trump. “If it hadn’t been for those bags of land,” he writes, “Rae would never have left the ghetto, the forest, the refugee camp or New York, where he had four children, including one named after his brother who had died during the escape. And whose own son, Jared Corey Kushner, was now one of the most powerful people in a new and uncertain world returning to darkness. ”

This passage shows Bernstein at his best narrative moment: journalistic, pointed and relentless, while reinforcing his theme that the Trump and the Kushner are ruthless, cold, hungry for power and ambitious. Their narrative traces the origin of the myths about the two families, how these insensitive and opportunistic dynasties finally joined the hip through the 2009 marriage of Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Trump’s eldest daughter and most favored son, at Trump’s Bedminster, NJ, golf club, and what current generations were willing to do to relatives, friends and enemies, anyone, really, to quench their seemingly insatiable thirst.

But it is also true that Bernstein has chosen the most difficult topic to investigate new ideas. It has already been written about both the Trump and the Kushner, and not only in the more than four years since Donald Trump went down the escalator in the Trump Tower throwing vitriol and hate, that adding new material to that grotesque canon is an exceptionally task challenging for any reporter, even one as diligent as Bernstein. While “American Oligarchs” is a rich and highly readable compendium, one does not finish it and thinks: “I have been dazzled and enraged again.” Rather, the experience of consuming this book is more similar to reading an encyclopedia of many of the odious things we already know, or believe we know, about these two families.

As Bernstein shares in her “Source Note,” she had no access to Trump or his family. She did not interview the Kushners, although Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father, answered some of his questions through his lawyer; Jared Kushner, through the White House, provided objective information but did not answer his questions. Obviously he didn’t have Anonymous access to the White House, not even to Michael Wolff. Fear was another obstacle to overcome. Most of the more than 200 people he interviewed, many of them with first-hand knowledge of the events and in good terms with the Trump and the Kushner, refused to be identified in any way.

Make no mistake, Bernstein is a fearless reporter, best known for her work at WNYC, the public radio station in New York City, and in particular for her tireless digging over Bridgegate, that notorious unique story in New Jersey that probably will It cost Chris Christie, the former governor, has the opportunity to make a serious run for the Republican nomination that Trump won instead. Of course, as Bernstein also shares, Christie was the United States lawyer in New Jersey who prosecuted Kushner’s father for evading taxes, manipulating witnesses, making illegal contributions to the campaign and hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law as part from a family. fief. When Charles Kushner pleaded guilty, in 2004, he served 14 months in federal prison.

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