'Gung-ho' Jared Kushner Pushed Donald Trump to Fire James Comey, Book Claims

In her new book, Kushner, Inc., journalist Vicky Ward set out to show just how much power the "remarkably unstoppable" couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had in influencing decisions at the White House, including the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

In an interview with ABC News early this week, Ward divulged that one of the "biggest reveals" in Kushner, Inc. focused on how Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, "really pushed the president to fire James Comey in a way that hasn't really been reported before.

"You know, Jared was gung-ho, according to one of the senior White House officials," Ward said. "And he made a three-point argument to the president in front Steve Bannon and others that he thought James Comey was hated by the FBI, was hated by the Democrats. And if Trump fired him the base…would love it, and he made this argument very impassionedly."

Ward noted, however, that Kushner appeared to make his impassioned plea "right around the time that the press had learned that he'd been meeting with [a] Russian banker and Russian diplomat, and he had failed to put any of this on his security clearance form. So I'm sure that the Mueller investigation and Congress will be looking very closely at that," Ward said.

Asked by ABC News's Chris Vlasto whether she had any concerns that the White House or representatives for Kushner would attribute the claims to Bannon, the former White House chief strategist Bannon who left the White House in August 2017, and dismiss him as a "disgruntled person," Ward said she was "fully aware of all the different personal agendas and personal vendettas" at play and was careful to "double source" the revelations in her book.

"I mean, one of the challenges when you report a book like this is not to take just one person's version of events," Ward said. "I think that particularly when you have sources who want to be anonymous, it's really important that you double source everything so you can be absolutely assured that the scene about Jared pushing the president to fire James Comey did not—just because Bannon is in the room, that there is multiple sourcing, eyewitnesses on that."

In the wake of Comey's firing, The Wall Street Journal had already reported that Kushner had urged Trump to fire Comey as FBI director, citing sources familiar with the matter.

At the time, sources provided different reasons for Kushner's decision to push for Comey's termination, with one source saying the move would likely gain support from disgruntled FBI agents who believed that Comey had mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.

Another source cited by The Journal said Kushner thought that Comey's handling of the investigation showed that he was too unpredictable.

The former FBI director's handling of the Clinton investigation was ultimately the main reason cited by Trump for Comey's firing, with the U.S. leader saying his decision had also been based on a recommendation from the Department of Justice.

Ward said the conversation in which Kushner reputedly pushed Trump to fire Comey "happened in front of a lot of people, which is why it was so notable. And you know Jared normally didn't go to the line like that, but on this issue he did."

The journalist said that the lack of transparency around Kushner was really troubling, asserting that one of the bigger issues around the president's son-in-law "that has not come up before, but is really important, is this business of closing the White House logs.

"You know, everyone has assumed that the president did that. And you know, there was rightly, if you remember, an absolute outcry about it. But again, it turns out that just around the time that Jared is meeting with people who are in a position to help his family business." Ward said.

Ultimately, Ward said her book's theme was "about two people who we all hoped, at the outset of this administration, would be the sort of moral center of it, would be moderating influences on a president known for his extreme character and extreme policies. And I think that there were signs right at the beginning that perhaps they weren't what they seemed.

"I set out to sort of see whether Washington would change them. And the answer I think is that the White House is very much now run kind of like a New York family business."

donald trump, jared kushner, wall
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner joins President Donald Trump as he holds a press conference to discuss a revised U.S. trade agreement with Mexico and Canada in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 1, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images