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Inside Washington: Acts and scenes
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 30 - 11 - 2017


Jared Kushner: ‘We are here to stay'
The talk of the town recently was about the present and future in the White House of President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner. Some reports suggested that the couple (Jared and Ivanka) will be out of the political scene by 2018 and that White House chief-of-staff, John F Kelly, is behind the shrinking of Kushner's vast duties and visibility in the White House.
Kelly denied those speculations in a report published by The New York Times. The paper also received an e-mail forwarded by the White House, in which the president said last on Friday, 24 November, that he still relied on Kushner. “Jared is working very hard on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the last thing I would ever do is get in the way of that possibility,” Trump said. The president also said, “Jared has been very effective since the earliest days of the campaign and the same is true today. He understood the movement then and has been helpful implementing the agenda the American people voted for since.”
It was recently reported that a Trump team including Kushner are drafting a “Middle East Peace Plan” — a “concrete blueprint to end the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, a plan intended to go beyond previous frameworks offered by the American government in pursuit of what the president calls ‘the ultimate deal',” as reported by the New York Times' Peter Baker. Most news reports routinely describe Kushner as a good friend of Israel and its current Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are reportedly looking to buy their first house in Washington, D.C. “We're here to stay. At the current moment, we're charging forward,” Kushner told The Washington Post in a profile published last Saturday. “My wife asked me the other day if we should be looking at new houses, so that's a good sign,” he added. It is also worth mentioning that, some time this fall, a scenario was heard in DC in which Ivanka Trump could replace Nikki R Haley as ambassador to the United Nations if Haley replaces Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Bashing CNN... to be continued
Continuing his favourite game, US President Donald Trump attacked CNN again in recent tweets. Last Saturday, 25 November Trump tweeted: “@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!”
In response, CNN's PR account tweeted on Saturday: “It's not CNN's job to represent the U.S to the world. That's yours. Our job is to report the news. #FactsFirst.”
On Monday morning, Trump stepped up his game, tweeting, “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”
CNN hit back on that same day, and — as POLITICO reported — news anchor Wolf Blitzer responded saying, “CNN and CNN International are not sponsored by any state, nor any autocrat, nor any political organization, and despite the constant criticism from the president, we are unwavering in our mission, free and independent as the press should be.”
Blitzer's response followed about five minutes of video clips showing CNN International journalists reporting from dangerous situation in Libya and Iraq. A week ago, the Justice Department filed a suit to halt the merger between AT&T and CNN's parent company, Time Warner; it appears to many observers that the administration is trying to use the deal to force Time Warner to sell the network. This came up at Monday's White House press briefing, as reported by POLITICO: “a reporter cited Trump's tweets and asked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the president had discussed the merger with Rupert Murdoch, the head of Fox News. ‘Not that I'm aware of,' she said.”


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