Royal Wedding Live: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Altar


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Here we go.

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Well-wishers lined the Long Walk leading to Windsor Castle on Saturday, waiting for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prince Harry has arrived at the church with Prince William, his best man. Both are wearing the formal frock coats from the Blues and Royals military regiment.

One thing that makes me really happy is that Harry has decided to wear a wedding ring. It’s hard to overstate how much of a break from tradition that is, not just for the royal family, but for British aristocrats in general, who always considered them vulgar and unnecessary.

The queen has arrived wearing a lime green dress, with Prince Philip, as have Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, and the bridesmaids and page boys.

And here is Meghan! And here is her dress. It’s white! It’s long! It’s not poufy at all, but simple and pretty. And that is one long veil. A pair of pageboys helped get her, and the veil, up the stairs, and she then walked down the aisle, halfway on her own before she was joined by Charles.

The service will last an hour, after which Meghan and Harry will take a little jaunt in a carriage through the streets of Windsor, where they and the crowds can wave at each other.

A good time is being had by all (even before the cocktails).

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Guests taking their places inside St. George’s Chapel.

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Pool photo by Danny Lawson

Unlike a lot of weddings — and certainly unlike Kate and William’s wedding, just seven years ago — the guests inside are hanging out in the aisles, air-kissing and gossiping. It’s a great royal-and-celebrity cocktail party! (Sadly without cocktails, at least not yet.)

Kate and William’s wedding was solemn, stately, stuffy, full of dignitaries, politicians, and the sort of boring personages known here as the great and the good.

But this looks totally fun for the guests — even more fun than, say, the Academy Awards — because no one is competing for anything and no one is being forced to talk about their outfits to television reporters.

Part of the change in tone is due to the passage of time and to how much Britain, or perhaps the royal family, has changed in the last few years.

Part of the reason, of course, is that Harry, being the second son and not a future king, has the freedom to be more relaxed, less constrained by tradition, and less conventional than his brother. This wedding has nothing to do with dynasty, or ensuring the security of the royal line. (We hope they have kids! But only because it’s fun to have kids, not because it would be some sort of international crisis if they did not.)

This wedding has everything to do with two people who are totally into each other and want to have a great big happy celebration.

Oprah is there. So are her sunglasses.

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The guests included the British actor Idris Elba; his fiancée, Sabrina Dhowre; the British singer James Blunt; and Oprah Winfrey.

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Chris Radburn/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

One of the great excitements about any wedding, of course, is the moment you learn who has been invited and who has not. Meghan and Harry have kept their list secret, but now dozens of these mysterious figures are starting to enter St. George’s Chapel.

Who are they? We don’t know! We’re trying to figure it out, and so are the television commentators.

But wait. This is exciting. Here is none other than Oprah Winfrey, in a snug pink dress, a pair of very cool sunglasses and a massive broad-brimmed hat spectacularly festooned with flowers. If anyone qualifies as American royalty, it is surely Oprah, with her ability to transcend race and background, and her great gift for openness and emotional candor.

Her confessional approach, with its emphasis on recovery and redemption, is nearly the polar opposite of the traditional British impulse to keep your feelings to yourself and carry on without complaint. In its quiet way, we’re witnessing a titanic clash of national mentalities.

Oprah has kept her sunglasses on, even though she is inside, which is pretty cool. She’s chatting to some people — I am sure we will eventually find out who they are — and looking movie-starry and also rather regal. (Hello, British royals! We’ll see you and raise you one.)

Middletons, Beckhams and Clooneys, oh my!

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David and Victoria Beckham.

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Pool photo by Toby Melville

Now we’re playing Spot the Guest as more people throng into the chapel and mill around inside. Kate Middleton’s parents, Carole and Michael, are here. They have always done such a good job of wearing appropriate outfits, smiling tastefully and saying nothing.

Here is Charles Spencer, the Earl of Althorp, Diana’s brother, perhaps known best for his active love life and his impassioned attack on the British media after his sister’s death.

It’s turning into Celebrity Central here. George and Amal Clooney are making their stately, Hollywood-y entrance (She’s in yellow with some kind of interesting train).

David and Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh and Becks, have come in and are gracing some people in the crowd with their conversation.

Other people are here, too. We’ll keep you posted.

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

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The St George’s Chapel Choir rehearsing ahead of the wedding.

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Steve Parsons/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

You probably have a few questions about the royal wedding, having never married into royalty yourself.

Do the bride and groom get to bring their corgis (do they have any corgis)? Why is the royal family so fixated on corgis, anyway? Will the guests be subjected to that perverse and baffling British tradition, the serving of wedding fruitcake?

Which of many possible military uniforms will Harry wear to the ceremony, and how did he decide? What’s the deal with all these hats that are actually called fascinators and are not, strictly speaking, hats at all?

We’ve answered over 100 questions to help you understand these and many more of the day’s pressing issues. (It’s a pretty exhaustive list and contains even things you didn’t realize you wanted to know.)

And, for anyone who remembers the electrifying moment that Pippa Middleton sashayed into the church in a slinkily form-fitting bridesmaid’s dress at her sister Kate’s marriage to Prince William in 2011, there is another matter.

Who will be this year’s Pippa? And what aspect of her (or his) outfit and physique will seize the public imagination this time? Is it possible to improve on the nickname instantly awarded to Pippa: “Her Royal Hotness”?

‘I never thought it would happen.’

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Royal enthusiasts on the first train from London to Windsor on Saturday.

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Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA, via Shutterstock

We’ve got reporters all over the place this morning — in Windsor, in London, in Essex and at viewing parties in the United States — so we’ll be getting updates throughout the day.

Stephen Castle, who usually writes about Brexit and other serious matters but today has been promoted to matrimonial correspondent, based in Windsor, met two San Franciscans, Aaron Endre and Alex Conlon, dressed in wigs and white dresses.

“I have had a crush on Harry my entire life, and this is my last-ditch effort to get him,” declared Mr. Endre, who described himself as a gay activist and performer. He was almost entirely kidding.

“Harry, what does it take?” he asked.

Different people had different reasons for coming.

Denise Crawford, who was raised in Jamaica, traveled from her home in Brooklyn to attend a wedding she considered a historic event.

“One of the children of slaves is marrying a royal whose forerunners sanctioned slavery,” she said. “The lion is lying down with the lamb.”

Alexa Koppenberg had come from Germany because she didn’t trust her web browser. It crashed when she watched the 2011 wedding of William and Kate.

“I think it’s great that she’s half African-American,” she said of Meghan Markle. “I never thought it would happen, as Harry always dated blondes before.”

Woman power, and British fashion.

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Amal Clooney and George Clooney were among the guests.

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Pool photo by Gareth Fuller

Our fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, is also watching, and she has a quick take for us.

Both Amal Clooney, in mustard yellow with a train, and Oprah Winfrey, in peach, are making an entrance in dresses by Stella McCartney, and both look great.

Ms. McCartney had been rumored to be a contender as the wedding dress designer, which made sense given that she is:

1) A strong woman who recently took over her own business, and

2) A powerful force for sustainable fashion. (Both feminism and sustainability are causes close to Meghan Markle’s heart.)

Even though the honor of designing the Big Dress went to someone else — Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy — what we saw was a terrific representation of what she stands for: Women who are confident in their clothes and their identity, and British fashion.

And speaking of female British fashion designers: Priyanka Chopra, FoM (Friend of Meghan) is wearing Vivienne Westwood. Victoria Beckham is, of course, in Victoria Beckham. There’s an interesting Woman Power subtext here.

Welcome to Windsor. Please behave.

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Residents of Windsor have been told that around 4,000 police officers will be deployed.

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Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Even if you happen to be in England on Saturday, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just hop on a train and head out to Windsor at the last minute.

First of all, you might not get a seat. And when you do arrive in Windsor, it’s going to be extremely crowded.

You will have to contend with the keen royal-watchers who, having arrived perhaps days earlier, have already snagged all the good spots along the royal route.

That’s in addition to the thousands of police officers, some on horses, with their sniffer dogs, their metal fencing, their vehicle recognition technology, their closed-circuit TV cameras, their helicopters and their marine patrols of the river.

Don’t think that you or your drone can fly over Windsor, either; the police have designated it an exclusion zone for low-flying traffic on Saturday.

Perhaps 100,000 people will crowd into the little town today. No one is saying how much the security operation will cost, but the current (unconfirmed) estimate is that it will come to as much as 30 million pounds.

That’s about $40 million, with the bill to be paid by British taxpayers.

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Report for America Supports Journalism Where Cutbacks Hit Hard


“It’s important to have reporters based in parts of America where some people feel misunderstood,” she said. “It just helps us get a greater understanding of who we are and who our neighbors are.”

Report for America fellowships last one to two years, and the pay is about $40,000, with half covered by the program and the rest split between participating news organizations and donations. Two media veterans, Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott, started the project with funding from sponsors.

“People are applying for the same reason people want to go into the Peace Corps: There’s an idealistic desire to help communities, and there’s a sense of adventure,” Mr. Waldman, 55, said. “They want to try and save democracy. People keep saying that.”

Historically, reporters would start their careers at small publications and move on to progressively larger ones. These days, young journalists tend to find work right out of college — but the jobs they end up with often don’t require them to spend time talking to story subjects face to face or learning about different communities.

“Maybe they have done that Brooklyn thing, where you spend a year or two in a cubicle working for a blog,” Mr. Sennott, 55, said. “But that’s not the same as being on the ground doing the real work, knocking on a door and walking into someone’s kitchen.”

In 1990, daily and weekly newspaper publishers employed about 455,000 people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By January 2016, that number had fallen to 173,000.

Before the creation of Report for America, Mr. Waldman ran Beliefnet, a site dedicated to faith and spirituality, and worked for the Federal Communications Commission as a senior adviser. In 2015, he wrote a paper funded by the Ford Foundation arguing for the creation of a national service program for journalists.

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Charles Sennott, left, and Steven Walden, co-founders of Report for America. They have asked internet giants including Google and Facebook to contribute to the program. Google has committed money and training; Facebook has not.

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Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times

The other founder, Mr. Sennott, once worked as the Jerusalem-based Middle East bureau chief for The Boston Globe. He has covered wars and insurgencies in more than a dozen countries. In 2014, he founded GroundTruth, a nonprofit organization that trains foreign correspondents. He decided to join Mr. Waldman in establishing Report for America after the 2016 election.

“I was focused on reporting on divided societies and struggling democracies,” Mr. Sennott said. “Then I realized we live in one.”

Because they had seen how Facebook and Google contributed to the destruction of the advertising-based business model that had long kept local newspapers afloat, they asked them to kick in to their project. While Google has committed money and training, Facebook has yet to sign on.

“Mark Zuckerberg could solve the local news problem with the money that’s falling between his couch cushions,” Mr. Waldman said. “Folks like Facebook and Google and the other winners have the money to solve this problem, and it is a solvable problem.”

In parts of the country where newsrooms are filled with empty desks, tracking down stories can be depressingly easy, the organizers said. Will Wright, a reporter who was placed at The Lexington Herald Leader through the program, helped break a major story simply by attending a community meeting in eastern Kentucky and talking to residents who had been without running water for days.

Soon after his reporting, the person in charge of the water district went into retirement, and the state found $3.4 million to fix the water system.

“You don’t need a 20-year veteran investigative reporter to have this impact,” Mr. Waldman said. “It’s so barren out there that just being on the ground can have a really big impact.”

“He showed up,” Mr. Sennott said. “He was just there.”

For the nine reporter slots, 85 newsrooms applied asking for corps members, describing a crucial beat that needed filling. Reporters who make the cut start with eight days of training before joining their host newsrooms. They must also fulfill a service requirement, such as working as mentors to student journalists, during their stints.

The founders refer to those who take part in the program as “corps members,” rather than fellows, an attempt to signal that Report for America is not meant to be simply a chance to burnish a resume.

“It’s not a reward for bright young graduate students,” Mr. Sennott said. “It’s a call to get in there.”

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Pope Francis Admits ‘Grave Errors’ in Chile Sex Abuse Cases


In a visit to Chile and Peru in January, the pope made a spirited defense of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid that seemed to disregard the testimony of abuse survivors, who had long claimed the prelate had witnessed and covered up abuse by his mentor, the charismatic priest the Rev. Fernando Karadima. The pope said he had seen no “proof” of a cover-up.

Then, in an attempted apology on the flight back to Rome, Francis made a strange distinction between proof and evidence, and reiterated accusations of “calumny” against the bishop’s accusers. He revealed that he had twice rejected the resignation in recent years of Bishop Barros, whom he appointed to the small diocese of Osorno in 2015.

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Msgr. Santiago Silva, left, and Msgr. Fernando Ramos, right, the president and general secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, at a news conference about Pope Francis’ letter, in Punta de Tralca, Chile, on Wednesday.

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Esteban Felix/Associated Press

“I am also convinced he is innocent,” Francis added on the flight.

But one of the pope’s top advisers, the leader of his commission investigating abuse, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, distanced himself from the pontiff. And it then emerged that Cardinal O’Malley had hand-delivered a victim’s letter to Francis with a graphic account of how Bishop Barros had observed abuse by a priest. The letter seemed to contradict the pope’s claim that he had received no evidence.

The pope’s belief in the bishop’s innocence over the victims’ accusations outraged advocates for abuse survivors, and gave ammunition to those who said the usually politically deft pope had a tin ear when it came to sex abuse. All that pressure prompted Francis to send Archbishop Scicluna to Chile in January “as a result of some information received regarding the case,” the Vatican said at the time.

The pope’s letter released Wednesday had an entirely different tone. He wrote that the investigators sometimes felt “overwhelmed” by “so many victims of grave abuses of conscience and of power and in particular of the sexual abuses committed by various clergymen of your country against minors, who were robbed of their innocence.”

In Chile, the church hierarchy followed his lead. Msgr. Santiago Silva said church leaders “share the pain of Pope Francis,” and added, “we haven’t done enough. Our commitment is that this will never happen again.”

One of the victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, said of the pope’s letter, “It seems like he is ready to make some much-needed changes that will not only affect the church in Chile, which is in dire need of new bishops, and stop the cover-up of sexual abuse, but it would also send a sign to all the world that zero tolerance is zero tolerance.”

The Vatican has repeatedly argued that it is serious about cleaning up what Pope Benedict XVI once called “filth” in the church. On Saturday, the Vatican police arrested Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, a former diplomat at its embassy in Washington, where he was suspected of possessing child pornography. The Vatican had recalled him in September amid an investigation by American law enforcement officials, who had sought to strip him of his immunity.

On Wednesday, the pope seemed to seek a silver lining in what has become a black cloud over his pontificate and the Chilean church. “I assure you of my prayers and I want to share with you the conviction that the present difficulties are also an occasion to re-establish the trust in the church, broken by our mistakes and sins, and to heal wounds that haven’t stopped bleeding in Chilean society,” he wrote.

Austen Ivereigh, the author of a papal biography, “The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope,” also seemed intent on finding some good in the painful chapter.

“He’s shown he’s determined to defend the innocence of a bishop if there isn’t convincing evidence,” he said of Francis. “But when there is, he’s willing to say sorry and act.”

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The Kushners Saw Redemption in the White House. It Was a Mirage.


In a recent interview in his 15th-floor office at 666 Fifth Avenue — an aluminum-clad Manhattan skyscraper that has become a symbol of the family’s troubles — Charles Kushner brushed it all aside as false insinuations whipped into a publicity frenzy partly by political opponents.

Slender, silver-haired and impeccably dressed, Mr. Kushner, 63, was by turns charming, blunt and philosophical, an engaging contrast to Jared Kushner’s more stilted persona. He made little effort to hide his contempt for the investigations of his business and family, saying that the stacks of records he has voluntarily given investigators rebut any suggestion of impropriety.

“Go knock yourselves out for the next 10 years,” he said. “We didn’t do anything wrong.”

A long list of investigators are testing that claim. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are studying whether one of Mr. Kushner’s daughters dangled White House influence before prospective Chinese investors. So is the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Brooklyn federal prosecutors also are investigating the terms on which Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, refinanced a Kushner-owned property in Times Square.

State regulators in New York are examining Kushner loans from that bank and two others, including lines of credit to Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner’s White House meetings with lenders and partners of Kushner Companies have raised repeated questions about conflicts between his official and personal interests.

Most recently, the head of the federal Office of Government Ethics informed a House member in a letter that he had asked the White House counsel to examine meetings in the White House last year between Jared Kushner and officials from two financial companies. The companies later lent Kushner Companies more than a half-billion dollars.

The meetings were reported earlier by The New York Times; the letter was reported by CNN. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Tuesday that the counsel’s office was not investigating whether Mr. Kushner broke the law. Charles Kushner described the loans as arm’s-length transactions that did not involve his son.

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Charles Kushner is adamant that his family remains united in the face of their difficulties.

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Ilir Bajraktari/PatrickMcMullan.com, via Getty Images

On top of all of this, the political prize at the root of those travails — Jared Kushner’s White House post — appears to be losing its luster. Although he remains Mr. Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, 37, was stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February for reasons that remain undisclosed. Mr. Kushner, who friends say was taken aback by the decision, has avoided questions about how he will fulfill his once-sweeping White House duties without that privilege.

He has also lost some of his closest allies: two aides, Reed Cordish and Josh Raffel, recently announced their departures, as did Gary D. Cohn, the president’s economic adviser. Still hoping to make an impact on global affairs, Mr. Kushner has turned his attention from the Middle East stalemate to American relations with Mexico.

Charles Kushner is adamant that his family remains united in the face of their difficulties. But friends say Jared Kushner’s sister is distressed by investigators’ focus on her, and there are tensions between Jared and Josh over Mr. Trump. That Josh Kushner, 32, has made no secret of the fact that he did not vote for Mr. Trump upset his brother, several friends said. Voting records show Josh Kushner did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. Josh’s spokesman, Jesse Derris, said the brothers “are just as close as ever.”

Tales of his distaste for the Trump administration continue to surface, most recently at a January party at Oscar, a health insurance firm that he helped found. According to one attendee, Josh Kushner listed the year’s challenges, concluding with a laugh: “We survived Donald Trump. Don’t tweet that. Really, don’t tweet that. I’ll get in so much trouble.”

The Kushners have weathered ordeals before and emerged stronger and more prosperous. In 2004, Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of witness retaliation, tax violations and false statements to the Federal Election Commission after he hired a prostitute in a scheme to entrap and retaliate against his brother-in-law, who he suspected was cooperating with a federal inquiry into his business.

Charles Kushner still does not speak to his brother, whom he publicly blamed for instigating the investigation that led to his two-year prison sentence. Asked whether he hoped for presidential absolution, Mr. Kushner said, “I would prefer not to have a pardon” because it would trigger only further publicity.

His real estate empire is now under a national microscope, its every deal scrutinized for hints of federal influence. And while Charles Kushner insists his bankers are loyal, investors are eager and deals are plentiful, some business associates say the drumbeat of unflattering headlines is putting tremendous pressure on the family business. Banks must assess the risk of any continuing regulatory or criminal inquiries before making loans; potential investors are worried that they could come under scrutiny or that projects will be delayed or fall apart.

Mr. Kushner scoffs at such fears. “We are actively involved in more than $3 billion of projects and banks are providing $1.5 billion of financing in the first six months of this year,” he said. “Does that seem like we are lacking in funds?”

That said, the company has been forced to rule out two major sources of financing — foreign nations’ sovereign wealth funds and a federal program that offers foreign investors a path to citizenship — after questions about the propriety of tapping them given Jared Kushner’s foreign policy influence. While Mr. Kushner transferred some holdings in Kushner Companies to a trust run by his mother, he retains the vast majority — holdings estimated to be worth at least $761 million.

Avoiding such entanglements has proved harder, company officials said, than they expected. Bloomberg recently reported that two months after Mr. Kushner joined the White House, the firm sold a stake in a Brooklyn building to an entity whose largest shareholder is the Japanese government. A spokesman said Kushner company officials were unaware of the Japanese government’s involvement until the news report.

The finance minister of the tiny, oil-rich Gulf nation of Qatar also met separately early last year with both Josh and Charles Kushner at a time when the Qataris were seeking White House support against their powerful regional rivals. Josh Kushner, who runs the investment firm Thrive Capital, which recently raised a $700 million fund, cleared the meeting with outside counsel beforehand, his spokesman said.

“Josh met with the minister for less than 30 minutes,” Mr. Derris said. “There has been no contact since that time.”

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The Kushner family’s costliest and most ambitious real estate project, a $7.5 billion plan to raze its 666 Fifth Avenue office tower and replace it, was a casualty of the family’s White House connection.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The elder Mr. Kushner said he made clear to the minister that he had no interest in government-sponsored investment, and like his son, has had no further contact with him.

The family’s costliest and most ambitious real estate project — a $7.5 billion plan to raze their 41-story Fifth Avenue office tower and replace it with a new architecturally dazzling one, twice as high — was an early casualty of the family’s White House connection. A financing pact with a Chinese firm connected to some of the Communist Party’s leading families collapsed in the face of public scrutiny.

Now the Kushners are scrambling. They have only 10 months before a $1.2 billion mortgage comes due to find a profitable use for a 61-year-old office tower with dark corridors, low ceilings and too few tenants to cover the interest on the purchase loan.

By some estimates, the skyscraper is now worth about one-quarter less than the then-record price of $1.8 billion they paid for it in 2007. Vornado Realty Trust, which also took a 49.5 percent share in the office space, wants out. The shortfall this year between the income it generates and the interest on the loan exceeds $30 million, split evenly with the Kushners. Charles Kushner says that he is willing to buy out his partner, but some business associates say that would only double an already money-losing real estate bet.

Company officials have sought to minimize the effect of the tower’s financial troubles, saying it is one property among many and they marked down its value so it is less than 4 percent of Mr. Kushner’s net worth, estimated at $2.5 billion.

Debt for the Kushners’ Times Square property at 229 West 43rd Street is also on a watch list, according to Trepp, a firm that analyzes mortgage-backed securities. But both Mr. Kushner and Laurent Morali, the firm’s president, call that building, the former headquarters of The New York Times, an excellent investment. They insisted that the 2016 loan from Deutsche Bank, which is now under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, was an arm’s-length business transaction.

But financing for a third $800 million project, two towers across the Hudson River in suburban New Jersey, has been delayed by yet more questions arising from the family’s White House connections. The company had hoped to attract $150 million from foreign investors via a federal visa program, EB-5, that offers green cards and eligibility for permanent residence to those who invest at least $500,000 in an American business.

In a marketing event last May in Beijing, Charles Kushner’s daughter Nicole Kushner Meyer, 34, a comparative neophyte in the family business, told potential investors that the project meant a lot to “my entire family.” She added that her brother had left the firm to work in the Trump administration.

The Kushners apologized and abandoned the program — purely to avoid unwanted attention, Mr. Kushner said. “My daughter, our company, did nothing wrong,” he said.

But prosecutors and S.E.C. regulators have sought documents from the Kushners and their business partner, KABR Group, apparently in part to determine whether potential investors were misled about their visa prospects. Mr. Kushner has hired a criminal defense lawyer for Nicole, adding to his family’s roster of legal defenders.

Some in the Kushner camp are hopeful that particular inquiry is fading. But yet another one began two weeks ago after The Associated Press reported that the Kushner Companies had secured more than 80 construction permits after falsely declaring it had no rent-regulated tenants.

The company said it had outsourced the applications to a third party, and added that it had corrected the errors. But the New York City Buildings Department said it was investigating whether city laws were broken.

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