Report: North Korea Sought Backchannel With Jared Kushner

The North Korean government used an American businessman as an intermediary in trying to set up a secret backchannel with White House adviser Jared Kushner last year, The New York Times reports. The overture was reportedly made to the Trump administration by Gabriel Schulze, a financier with ties to North Korea who is said to have approached Kushner with the message that a top North Korean official wanted to discuss a possible meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Trump. Kushner referred Schulze to then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who later met with North Korean officials and played a vital role in arranging Trump’s June 12 meeting with Kim. Schulze’s outreach is thought to have kicked into motion a series of behind-the-scenes meetings that eventually led to Trump’s historic sit-down with Kim in Singapore earlier this month, though current and former officials told the Times that Schulze was one of about a dozen people to offer to act as a broker with North Korea, and Pyongyang has repeatedly sought to use intermediaries over the past three administrations.