Politics How Jared Kushner rocketed to the top of American politics by his mid-30s

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

Jared Kushner. play

Jared Kushner.

(Pool/Getty Images)
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Jared Kushner, who serves as the senior adviser to President Donald Trump, turned 37 on Wednesday. Kushner has become part of a circle of advisers and confidants who are among the closest White House aides to Trump, 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. Despite his age, Kushner has made a name for himself in real-estate development, but 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.

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



Charles Kushner was prosecuted by future New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was then a US attorney. 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 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 him the next target of Mueller's investigation.

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 him the next target of Mueller's investigation. 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 him the next target of Mueller's investigation.

(Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Source: Bloomberg, Business Insider



Regardless of Kushner's ultimate destiny amid the Russia investigation and the Trump administration, he and his wife have emerged as a rising power couple and have already left an indelible mark on US politics.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner at the White House. play

Ivanka Trump and Kushner at the White House.

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)