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Jared Kushner speaks in public. And Washington takes notice

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Yet numerous leading lights in the industry turned out for the first major meeting of the American Technology Council, which Trump commissioned in May and which is being shepherded by Kushner.

"Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens", Trump said as he opened the meeting.

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook, who has castigated Trump for his travel ban and the United States withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty, responded with praise for Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is leading the administration's technology sector outreach.

Others attending include Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Chairman John Doerr and the CEOs of Microsoft Corp MSFT.O International Business Machines Corp IBM.N , Intel Corp INTC.O , Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O , Oracle Corp ORCL.N and Adobe Systems Inc ADBE.O , a White House official said on Sunday. Several of the executives complimented Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to Trump, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a senior adviser, for helping to drive the initiative.

Kushner spoke Monday about efforts to update how the federal government functions, addressing fellow members of the Trump administration and business leaders, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Spokesman Sean Spicer yesterday announced that Kushner would soon go to the Middle East on the latest peace drive, meeting leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmud Abbas. "Americans deserve better digital services from their government, " Trump wrote in the order. Facebook FB.O CEO Mark Zuckerberg was invited but could not attend because of a conflict, the company said.

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Numerous tech executives are eager to get White House help in dealing with regulatory and other policy issues such as visas for highly skilled workers.

A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report estimated the U.S. government spent more than $80 billion in IT annually, excluding classified operations. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

Prior to the meeting, the administration sought to downplay tensions between Silicon Valley and the White House. Kushner has said through his private attorney that he will cooperate with all inquiries, including the Mueller probe and a pair of congressional committee investigations.

They are discussing issues like technology infrastructure, cyber security and visas for foreign workers. In 2015, hackers exposed the personal information of 22 million people from US government databases. Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord was also widely criticized by tech executives, with some withdrawing from advisory positions as a result.

In a document outlining the working-group sessions, the White House said the federal government should require "making it easy for agencies to use the cloud".

Stephen Bridges added he expected Jared Kushner's voice to sound like Mickey Mouse, and his guess "wasn't too far off".

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