Records Reveal New Details About Kushner’s and Mnuchin’s Trips to Middle East

American Oversight has obtained travel and expense records related to Jared Kushner’s and Steven Mnuchin’s highly scrutinized trips to the Middle East during the final weeks of the Trump administration. The documents, released through our ongoing public records lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), include flight itineraries, travel authorizations, and expense records from three separate trips.

Just before the 2020 election, Kushner, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, launched the Abraham Fund, a U.S. government-sponsored program purportedly intended to raise $3 billion for projects in the Middle East. The fund was overseen by Adam Boehler, the head of DFC and a college roommate of Kushner, and was touted by Mnuchin, who was then secretary of the Treasury.

In late 2020 and early 2021, both Kushner and Mnuchin took trips to the region to meet with Saudi and other Persian Gulf state officials, ostensibly to discuss the fund. The Abraham Fund vanished once Trump was out of office, but Kushner and Mnuchin each launched private equity funds that within months received billion-dollar investments from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, with Mnuchin also reportedly receiving tens of millions from other Gulf nations. 

The investments brought renewed scrutiny over the trips Kushner and Mnuchin took while their time in office was drawing to a close, and raised serious questions about whether they had used their official positions to set up lucrative business dealings for their return to the private sector. In July 2022, American Oversight submitted public records requests seeking information about Kushner’s and Mnuchin’s activities in the Middle East at that time, and in October sued the Treasury and DFC to compel the release of the records.

In recent months, we obtained documents from the Treasury Department that contained travel expenses from Mnuchin’s January 2021 trip to Gulf countries. According to the records, the trip cost $287,918.72, with $245,359.77 for the use of military aircraft and $21,589.55 for communication expenses. 

Another set of Treasury records released in February included proposed itineraries for Mnuchin’s trip and a list of individuals with whom he planned to meet, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The production also contained planning documents and communications exchanged in January 2021, when Mnuchin had just two weeks left as secretary, related to an upcoming forum on U.S.-Qatar investments. In a Jan. 5 email, Treasury aide Zachary McEntee, who accompanied Mnuchin on the trip, said he would act as deputy chairman of the forum, with Mnuchin as co-chairman. It isn’t clear whether that forum took place, but Mnuchin was listed as a speaker at a June 2021 “Qatar Economic Forum.” American Oversight has since sent requests to the Treasury for information about the forum mentioned in McEntee’s emails, including related communications.

We also obtained records from DFC that included Boehler’s travel itineraries and expenses for two trips he took to the Middle East with Kushner in November and December 2020. According to the records, Boehler was authorized $2,548.26 in expenses for the trip to Saudi Arabia and Qatar from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. Boehler also traveled with Kushner to Jerusalem and Morocco that December, for which his expenses were $2,586.51.

Read more about American Oversight’s lawsuit against the Treasury and DFC here

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