White House adviser Jared Kushner seems to be “modifying” his stance on the Paris climate agreement, according to a source close to him, and now argues that the “standards” of the accord need to be changed.
Kushner, the husband of First Daughter Ivanka Trump, may be shifting his stances on certain policy issues, The New York Times reported, as President Donald Trump looks to put a series of scandal behind him.
“Instead of urging the president to keep the United States in the Paris climate accord, as he sought to months ago, he has come to believe the standards in the agreement need to be changed,” a source close to Kushner told TheNYT.
The Daily Mail seemed to confirm TheNYT’s report, citing an unnamed administration official who told the paper that Kushner’s “basic position is that the standards need to be changed, and the question is can you stay in the Paris Agreement with the changes.”
“He felt that the standards are too high, so the question becomes can you stay in and get a better deal,” the unnamed official told The Daily Mail.
Kushner has been considered a moderating voice in the White House, including pushing Trump to break his campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He was joined by Ivanka, economic adviser Gary Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Kushner and Ivanka reportedly blocked language from an executive order critical of the Paris Agreement. But now Kushner wants to change “the standards in the agreement,” which likely refers to the Obama administration’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
President Barack Obama pledge to cut U.S. emissions from to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
Some Republicans and administration officials have suggested that the U.S. could remain in Paris, but with a weaker pledge. However, it’s not clear if that can legally be done, or if it would be accepted by the international community.
Kushner’s softened stance on Paris comes after reports surfaced that he’s a “person of interest” in the FBI’s investigation into Russian activities in the 2016 election, and that he tried to set up back channel communications with the Russian government last year.
TheNYT reports that Trump “has increasingly included Mr. Kushner when he dresses down aides and officials, a rarity earlier in his administration and during the campaign.” Kushner has also clashed with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Trump said he would announce his decision on the Paris Agreement this week, and Axios reported shortly thereafter that Trump told close confidantes he was leaning towards withdrawing from the agreement.
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