All Roads led to Jared Kushner


July 13, 2017

by Nicholas Kristof@www.nytimes.com

For a year, the refrain from the Trump camp has been a defiant mix of “Lock her up,” “but the emails” and “fake news.”

Now it turns out that what was fake wasn’t the news but the Trump denials, that the truly scandalous emails were in the Trumps’ own servers and that the person who may have committed a felony is actually Donald J. Trump Jr.

Image result for donald trump jr--culture of dishonesty
Two of a Kind–The Holy Father and Son

 

The writer Stephen King put it this way: “The news is real. The President is fake.”

The question is where this goes next. I suggest two directions.  First, look beyond Donald Trump Jr. to Jared Kushner and to President Trump himself. Second, explore how Trump Jr.’s attempt at collusion with Russians may relate to the bizarre effort by Kushner to set up a secret communication channel with the Kremlin.

To back up, just in case you’ve been stuck on a desert island, here’s what you missed this week. Donald J. Trump Jr. received an email in June 2016, eight days after his father clinched the Republican nomination for President, that said the Kremlin had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary. … This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.

In 1960, the Kremlin made a similar offer to support the candidacy of John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon, but the Kennedy campaign rebuffed it. Likewise, when the Al Gore campaign in 2000 received confidential materials relating to the George W. Bush campaign, it called the F.B.I.

Image result for Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort–Ops Research Heck

Trump Jr. didn’t call the F.B.I.; instead, he responded, “I love it.” He apparently arranged a phone call to discuss the material (we don’t know that the call happened or, if it did, its content), and then set up a meeting for him, Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort to meet with a person described in the emails as a “Russian government attorney.”

In other words, informed of a secret Kremlin effort to use highly sensitive information about a former secretary of state (presumably obtained by espionage, for how else?) to manipulate an American election, Trump Jr. signaled, “We’re in!”

“This was an attempt at collusion,” noted Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. It may or may not have amounted to a felony, for soliciting a foreigner to contribute something “of value” in connection with an American election. The Predict-It betting website now lists gambling odds about whether Trump Jr. will be indicted.

The Trumps’ defense is that the meeting was a “nothingburger” with no follow-up. That would be more compelling if the Trumps hadn’t previously denied at least 20 times that such a meeting had ever taken place. Their credibility is in tatters. Crucially, this is bigger than Donald Trump Jr.

The Trumps insist that the President himself was unaware of the Russian offer. Yet the day after Trump Jr. received the first email and presumably had his phone conversation about the supposedly incriminating material, his father promised to give “a major speech” in which “we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”

That speech targeting Hillary Clinton didn’t take place. But on June 15, the first leak of stolen Democratic materials did.

Then there’s Kushner. Trump Jr. forwarded the emails to Kushner, whose response was to attend the meeting, although he apparently left within 10 minutes. Kushner later neglected to report the meeting and others with Russians on his SF-86 forms to receive national security clearance (intentional omission is a felony).

The meeting gave the Kremlin potential blackmail material against the Trumps, and thus possibly leverage over them.

In addition, McClatchy reports that investigators in Congress and the Justice Department are exploring whether the Trump campaign digital operation — supervised by Kushner — helped guide Russia’s remarkably sophisticated efforts to use internet bots to target voters with fake news attacking Hillary Clinton.

Then there was the extraordinary initiative by Kushner in the transition period to set up the secret communications channel. There’s no indication that the channel was actually established, and the assumption has been that the communications would have required visits to Russian consulates — which would be bizarre.

But Barton Gellman, a careful national security writer, has another theory. He notes that James Comey, the ousted F.B.I. Director, in testimony to Congress referred to the risk that this channel could “capture all of your conversations.” Gellman suggests that this may mean that Kushner sought mobile Russian scrambling equipment to take to Trump Tower.

Look, this is a murky, complicated issue. But this much we know: Kushner attended a secret meeting whose stated purpose was to advance a Kremlin effort to interfere in the U.S. election, he then failed to report it, and finally he sought a secret channel to communicate with the Kremlin.

One next step is clear: Take away Jared Kushner’s security clearance immediately.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 13, 2017, on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: All Roads Now Lead To Kushner.

8 thoughts on “All Roads led to Jared Kushner

  1. Things are unraveling in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is already 6 months and nothing substantive in terms of domestic and foreign policy has been initiated. LaMoy, you are in the best position to provide credible comments. I have been accused of reading stuff–“fake news”– from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other liberal media, which are deemed hostile to the Trump Administration, and watching CNN.–Din Merican

  2. When you are for change it is very difficult to get people on your wagon. But once you succeed it cost notthing for people like me who opposed you to jump on your wagon. Apologies to A. Lincoln

  3. A few more days and it will be a full six months for the Trump WH.And already the cell doors inside the prison are open,cells cleaned squeaky shinning like gold,ready and waiting for relatives of the Trump family and their surrogates.Now,we all have to sit down to ponder,what will the main players and suspects in this Russian collusion investigation,be colluding to keep themselves out of prison.

    Already,rumors are that Mike Flint is already co-operating with the feds.That might also be the reason that the shoes are starting to fall like there is no tomorrow.Now,all we have to do is to sit down,relax,smoke our favorite cigars,watch tv,go to concerts or football games and wait for the first,second and third canaries in “Groper’s” inner circle to sing.

    Rumors coming out of the WH is that the knives are sharpened and ready for Jared Kushner.They blamed him for the latest Donald Trump Jr aka Fredo Corleone fiasco.Jared’s lawyers asked him to add or rectify this “meeting the Russian lawyer” on his security clearance form to save his own skin,knowing that the press will dig into this information and out everything.Maybe his lawyers are already talking with prosecutors about a deal.The talk is if Jared is found guilty,just for lying on his security form,the minimum is five years wearing orange jumpers.And how many more years for dealing with the Russians?

    To make a deal.one have to sign in for a “bigger fish”.What is the bigger fish above Jared?The “Groper in Chief”,Donald Trump,of course.

    Lawyers for an NGO have filed papers in the court for forms about dates of Jeff Sessions meeting with Russians.The court have ordered the justice department to deliver the forms before June 6th.The date have passed and the justice department have refused.Now,in the Trump administration,not only the “Groper” have no respect for the law.Even the AG and his justice department.the top lawmakers in the US have no respect for the law.Now,even Mike Pence is a suspect for lying about not knowing about meetings with Russians.

    Eventually,it all looks like the POTUS,VPOTUS,AG and many senior staff and surrogates might be prison bound.Now is season time for canaries to sing.Which canary sings first gets the best deal.Good luck to the canaries.

  4. Drumpf+Jnr+SiL = Bad Triad shit happens.
    Damp squib after all the Drumpfonomics ya?

    Here in Malusia, we aren’t the least concerned about this prime-time drama, since we’ve got enough entertainment or bummers/downers (depending on how one perceives it) with our own circus of gangsters-con/blowjobs-robbers-scammers-launderers etc.

    What i can say, is that Obamacare may end up as Putinocare. GOP lawmakers will end up committing seppuku in the midterm elections.. Drumpf and family will put The Addams Family and The Flintstones to shame.

  5. And Jared is the guy who is going to overhaul the entire US government and also solve the Palestinian Israel conflict. Wow sounds like a job for Superman.

  6. It’s now clear that top advisers to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign were aware of a Russian government effort to help Trump win the 2016 election, and that at least some of them were open to working with the Russians to that end. And we’ve long known of a litany of ties between Trump advisers and Russia, a series of meetings and contacts between various Trump people and people linked to the Russian government, and a set of actions in which it appears Trump himself was trying to discourage the investigation into these matters. More and more potentially incriminating information keeps leaking out bit by bit, with the latest being the email thread in which Donald Trump Jr. agrees to take a meeting that he’d been told is “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” But Trump Jr. says the meeting ended up being insignificant and leading nowhere.

    There’s still a lot we don’t yet know. Above all, the tremendously important question remains: What, if anything, did Trump advisers and Russian government-linked entities end up discussing or doing together during the campaign? That is: Was there any significant collaboration or even information sharing between the two camps? Or did the Russian effort to help Trump win – through hacks and leaks of prominent Democrats’ emails, and through other means – proceed independently? We don’t yet know the answer. There’s almost surely more that has yet to come out – both from news reports and from the investigations that are proceeding in the executive branch and Congress. This is a scandal with both political and potentially criminal elements, and the future of Trump’s presidency could be determined by what else emerges.

    The big picture is that there’s a whole lot of smoke. Whether there’s fire is the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But so far there’s still no publicly reported solid evidence that Trump advisers and the Russian government had any sort of secret arrangement or shared information about Russian interference in the election. As Mueller and various congressional committees proceed in their investigations, much will depend on the answers to the following questions:

    (1) Did any sort of collaborative effort between anyone close to Trump and the Russian government end up materializing?

    (2) If there was some sort of collusion, what exactly did it entail? Policy promises, either on Ukraine or sanctions? Consultation on or tip-offs about the Russian hackings? Money? Dirt on Hillary Clinton or other helpful information of some kind? The answer here will be important for just how serious both the political and the criminal aspects of the scandal are.

    (3) What evidence exists on all these matters? That is, are there email and phone records or other documents of some kind, did money change hands in any way that is traceable, and will witnesses prove willing to testify?

    (4) If anything did go on, who specifically was involved? And what, exactly, did Donald Trump himself know?

    The answers to these questions will determine whether the Russia scandal fizzles out, or keeps growing ever larger.

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