Politics How Jared Kushner rocketed to the top of American politics by his mid-30s — and found himself in more hot water than ever

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Jared Kushner's upbringing among New Jersey's upper class led him on a path that landed him a post at President Donald Trump's side in the White House.

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(Pool/Getty Images)
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Jared Kushner, who serves as the senior adviser to President Donald Trump, is under more hot water than ever.

The 37-year-old is part of Trump's closest circle of White House aides, and he is an integral part of the Trump family through his marriage to the president's daughter Ivanka.

Although his background in Democratic politics would suggest that he is an unlikely figure for such a position, just like Trump, Kushner comes from a wealthy and influential New York family that made its money in real estate.

Kushner has made a name for himself in real-estate development, but he has now found himself in the crosshairs of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Here's how Kushner inherited his family's business legacy and rose to the top of American politics in the Trump era:

Kushner was born on January 10, 1981, in Livingston, New Jersey, to Seryl and Charles Kushner. Kushner's father was the son of Joseph Kushner, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Novogrudok, Belarus.

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sources: New York Magazine, US News



Kushner's father Charles is a powerful real-estate developer and major Democratic donor who founded Kushner Companies, a New York real-estate firm, in 1985.

Real-estate developer Charles Kushner. play

Real-estate developer Charles Kushner.

(Mike Derer/AP)

Sources: Biography.com, Forbes



That same year, Jared's younger brother Joshua was born. He now is a partner at Thrive Capital, a health care startup.

Joshua Kushner, right, with British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom. play

Joshua Kushner, right, with British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom.

(Flickr via Number10Gov)

Source: Forbes



After finishing high school in New Jersey, Kushner attended Harvard University, graduating in 2003 with a degree in government. Although there were reports at the time that Kushner's father had offered Harvard an endowment to boost his son's chances, his family denied these claims.

After finishing high school in New Jersey, Kushner attended Harvard University, graduating in 2003 with a degree in government. Although there were reports at the time that Kushner's father had offered Harvard an endowment to boost his son's chances, his family denied these claims. play

After finishing high school in New Jersey, Kushner attended Harvard University, graduating in 2003 with a degree in government. Although there were reports at the time that Kushner's father had offered Harvard an endowment to boost his son's chances, his family denied these claims.

(Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock.com)

Sources: Pro Publica, Biography.com, The Guardian



In 2005, Charles Kushner was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, and witness tampering. Jared, who had already been managing real estate in college, took over his father's duties at Kushner Companies while he was in jail.

Kushner arriving for his sentencing. play

Kushner arriving for his sentencing.

(Marko Georgiev/AP)

Sources: US News, Biography.com



Future New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was then a US attorney, was the one who prosecuted Charles Kushner. His father's trial convinced Jared to abandon his dream of becoming a prosecutor himself, and he threw himself into the family business.

Chris Christie. play

Chris Christie.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Sources: Biography.com, US News



Kushner purchased the New York Observer newspaper in 2006, and after getting a dual JD-MBA from New York University in 2007, Kushner became the CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008. He bought a property in 2007 that became the largest single building transaction in the US.

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sources: Vanity Fair, US News



In 2009, Kushner married Ivanka Trump, whom he had been dating for two years. The couple wed in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Ivanka converted to Kushner's faith, Orthodox Judaism.

Kushner with Ivanka Trump. play

Kushner with Ivanka Trump.

(Handout/Getty)

Source: Biography.com



Kushner had a prominent role in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign by way of his marriage to Ivanka, running Trump's digital, online and social-media efforts with help from Silicon Valley's elite.

Kushner in 2016. play

Kushner in 2016.

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Sources: Vanity Fair, US News



In July 2016, Kushner, along with Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, infamously met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower. Trump Jr. later said he was promised "dirt" on former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before the meeting.

Natalia Veselnitskaya in Moscow, July 11, 2017. play

Natalia Veselnitskaya in Moscow, July 11, 2017.

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Source: New York Times



In late 2016, Kushner also reportedly told the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, that he was interested in setting up a communications back channel between Trump and Russia. Kislyak said he was taken aback by the suggestion.

Sergey Kislyak. play

Sergey Kislyak.

(Cliff Owen/AP)

Source: Washington Post



After a rocky transition, Kushner assumed his role in the White House on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017. During his first year, Kushner has headed up Middle East peace talks and has at times been the butt of insults from former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Kushner and Bannon. play

Kushner and Bannon.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Sources: Business Insider



Kushner had to testify before the congressional probe and special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation about his contacts with Russian nationals. In November, he reportedly gave Mueller information about former White House national-security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump and Kushner. play

Trump and Kushner.

(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Sources: ABC News, CBS News



Kushner is most likely the "senior member of the Trump transition team" that Flynn said had ordered him to contact Russian officials in his guilty plea. This might make Kushner one of the Mueller investigation's next targets.

Kushner is most likely the "senior member of the Trump transition team" that Flynn said had ordered him to contact Russian officials in his guilty plea. This might make Kushner one of the Mueller investigation's next targets. play

Kushner is most likely the "senior member of the Trump transition team" that Flynn said had ordered him to contact Russian officials in his guilty plea. This might make Kushner one of the Mueller investigation's next targets.

(Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Source: Bloomberg, Business Insider



But things have gotten even more complicated for Kushner in the new year — Mueller is now reportedly investigating his efforts to get foreign backing for his family business during the presidential transition.

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Source: Business Insider



In addition, as the scandal around former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's alleged domestic abuse mounted, it was revealed that Kushner, like Porter, was working under a temporary security clearance.

John Kelly and Jared Kushner at the White House in September 2017. play

John Kelly and Jared Kushner at the White House in September 2017.

(Reuters)

Source: Business Insider



Kushner finally lost his "top secret" clearance in late February — meaning now the White House calligrapher even has a higher clearance than he does.

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Source: Business Insider, CNN



That same day, several other disastrous news stories broke. Four different countries were apparently seeking to manipulate Kushner, his company reportedly received massive loans from firms he had met with in the White House, and his right-hand man was leaving his post.

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Source: Business Insider



Assailed on all sides, Kushner's predicaments look like they are only getting worse.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington play

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington

(Thomson Reuters)


Regardless of Kushner's ultimate destiny amid the Russia investigation and the Trump administration, he and his wife have emerged as a power couple that has already left an indelible mark on US politics. Their impact won't be forgotten anytime soon.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner at the White House. play

Ivanka Trump and Kushner at the White House.

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)