Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have reportedly been hosting dinners that include top Democratic lawmakers for months, focusing on policy issues such as criminal justice reform.
According to Axios, the couple held a bipartisan dinner last week with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) along with a handful of other White House officials. It is believed to be the latest in a series of dinners that have been taking place for months.
The outlet reports that the meeting, at what was deemed “Chez Javanka,” focused on criminal justice reform as the power couple — known as the key players in the so-called “West Wing Democrats” — look for “bipartisan wins.” Notably, there have been next to zero leaks from the dinners, a rare occurrence for the usually leaky White House.
Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser, has been pushing steadily for criminal justice reform, in opposition to conservative Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who racked up a number of wins in the early days of the administration with his hardline approach to criminal justice.
He has a personal interest in reform, as his father Charles was locked up for tax evasion. According to the Washington Post, Kushner has said that it has given him an awareness of the challenges inmates face. Senators are looking to revive a failed 2015 bipartisan bill to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences and implement measures to help convicts re-enter society.
“There is a lot of agreement from the left and the center and the right that once a person has committed a crime we should make sure we give them the best opportunities to try to live a productive life after serving their time,” Kushner told the Post last month. “We’re not looking to train better criminals.
The dinners come on the back of a criminal justice roundtable Kushner held at the White House, where he also reportedly spoke of his personal stake in reform.
The dinners would appear to contradict prior reports that “Javanka” are trying to keep to their lanes after upsetting key officials in the administration with their constant presence on key policy decisions. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly refers to the pair as the “royal family” and the pair have been accused of causing “periodic confusion and resentment” among officials.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY