Jared Kushner, a White House adviser.
Jared Kusher facilitated the delivery of 45 ventilators from Russia to the US around late March, two officials told the Daily Beast.
Those ventilators turned out to be faulty, and were cast aside, local officials said.
The Beast report said that national security officials — and New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo — were surprised to see supplies arriving from Russia.
According to the Beast, Kushner hurried the order along via a personal relationship with the CEO of a Russian sovereign wealth fund currently under US sanctions.
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Jared Kushner brokered a deal with the Russia for 45 ventilators to be brought to the US to help with the coronavirus crisis, all of which turned out to be faulty, according to a new report.
Two senior Trump administration officials told the Daily Beast that Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, helped secure an equipment order which included the ventilators.
The delivery was unloaded from the Russian-marked plane in New York on April 1, as the COVID-19 outbreak was reaching its most intense in the state.
The Beast said that the order was carried out by the State Department, but was sped along thanks to Kushner’s relationship with Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund of the Russian government.
According to the Beast, RDIF — which is subject to US sanctions — paid for half of the equipment. The sanctions limit the fund’s interactions with US entities but do not block them entirely, the Beast said.
A Russian Aerospace Forces plane carrying medical equipment at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on April 1.
TASSTASS via Getty Images
The delivery arrived, but fell short of expectations. Officials in New York and New Jersey told the Beast that that the ventilators didn’t work.
Other outlets had previously reported issues with the ventilators: two US officials told ABC News in May that they could not be used immediately due to issues with their voltage.
ABC also reported that the shipment contained thousands of medical supplies that not commonly used by hospitals, like household cleaning gloves, and that Russia billed the US almost $660,000 for them.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had then been asking the Trump administration for more ventilators, saying on March 24 that the state needed 30,000 more.
He said: “We’ve tried everything else. The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government. Period.”
According to the Beast, Cuomo’s staff were surprised to see supplies arrive from Russia, which they had instead expected to come from federal stockpiles, or to be produced new in the US.
Russia’s ambassador to the US called the shipment a “humanitarian mission.” Trump welcomed the equipment, saying at an April 2 press briefing that Putin offered him equipment in a phone call.
“He offered a lot of medical, high quality stuff that I accepted and that may save a lot of lives. I’ll take it every day.”
Kusher was in charge of Project Airbridge, a project he designed to bring medical supplies and equipment to the US from Asian manufacturers.
Pallets with personal protective equipment are unloaded from a FedEx cargo plane in Manchester, New Hampshire, in April.
The program was largely brought to an end in May, even though the US outbreak was continuing and states and hospitals were still seeing shortages.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexei DruzhininTASS via Getty
The Treasury Department, State Department, the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Dmitriev did not respond to the Daily Beast’s requests for comment, and the White House did not comment on the record.
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