Saturday, May 20, 2017

Shady Jared Kushner

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

Surely it's Jared Kushner.  [Update 5/25:  Indeed it is.]
Applicants for major national security positions must submit a lengthy F.B.I. questionnaire as part of a background check. They are asked to list the dates and details of all contacts with representatives of foreign governments.


When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.

But Mr. Kushner did not mention dozens of contacts with foreign leaders or officials in recent months. They include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank, arranged at Mr. Kislyak’s behest.

The omissions, which Mr. Kushner’s lawyer called an error, are particularly sensitive given the congressional and F.B.I. investigations into contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates.

Error indeed.
The Senate Intelligence Committee informed the White House weeks ago that, as part of its inquiry, it planned to question Mr. Kushner about the meetings he arranged with Mr. Kislyak, including the one with Sergey N. Gorkov, a graduate of Russia’s spy school who now heads Vnesheconombank.


Jamie Gorelick, Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, said that the questionnaire was submitted prematurely on Jan. 18, and that the next day, Mr. Kushner’s office told the F.B.I. that he would provide supplemental information.


In a statement, Ms. Gorelick said that after learning of the error, Mr. Kushner told the F.B.I.: “During the presidential campaign and transition period, I served as a point-of-contact for foreign officials trying to reach the president-elect. I had numerous contacts with foreign officials in this capacity. … I would be happy to provide additional information about these contacts.” No names were disclosed in that correspondence.

Somebody noticed his "error" right away. Too bad for Kushner they didn't notice a day earlier. But maybe it wasn't someone in the Trump camp who noticed.
Mr. Kushner’s aides said he was compiling that material and would share it when the F.B.I. interviewed him. For now, they said, he has an interim security clearance.
An interim clearance?!? When the omissions were Russian contacts?!?  (This report is from April 6.  I can't find out whether he eventually got that cleared up.)
[Kushner's contacts during the campaign] include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank, arranged at Mr. Kislyak’s behest.


Vnesheconombank is a target of American sanctions imposed in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine. It is controlled by members of President Vladimir V. Putin’s government, including Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev, and has been used to bail out oligarchs favored by Mr. Putin and to fund pet projects like the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Mr. Kushner has said he did not discuss sanctions with Mr. Gorkov, the Russian banker. Mr. Gorkov declined to comment on the subject of whether sanctions were discussed.
[W]hat if [...] Jared is not a panacea for the chaotic White House, but one of its biggest problems?

As the Trump administration’s been sent into a death spiral over the firing of FBI Director James Comey last week — a failed move to curtail the Justice Department investigation into contact between his campaign and the Russian government — Kushner hasn’t been the “adult in the room” urging caution and scrupulousness. To the contrary, he’s been urging aggression and retaliation.


Here’s what happened (according to reports from the New York Times) when the Trump administration found out that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had appointed Mueller as a special counsel to lead the Trump/Russia probe:
Most of those gathered recommended that the president adopt a conciliatory stance and release a statement accepting Mr. Rosenstein’s decision and embracing a swift investigation that would clear the cloud of suspicion hovering over the West Wing.

Mr. Kushner — who had urged Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Comey — was one of the few dissenting voices, urging the president to counterattack, according to two senior administration officials. After a brief discussion, however, calmer heads prevailed, and Mr. Trump’s staff huddled over a computer just outside the Oval Office to draft the statement that was ultimately released, asserting the president’s innocence and determination to move on.
It’s also interesting that, according to Reuters’ Julia Edwards Ainsley, the White House is considering trying to hobble Mueller — using a regulation barring Mueller from investigating anyone his former law firm had represented. In practice, that would be Kushner and former campaign head Paul Manafort.
Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly at his former law firm.

If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.
Perhaps this is why Mueller was chosen in the first place?

The plot thickens.  (See previous post.)

And how about this bullshit they floated just after the election?
[NOV. 16, 2016]

Neither Ivanka Trump, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s daughter, nor her husband, Jared Kushner, has applied for a security clearance, nor do they intend to, according to two people close to the Trump transition.


[T]ransition officials said Mr. Kushner had not sat in any security briefings and had no plans to.

I hope Kushner gets just as caught in this Russia collusion mess as Trump. Otherwise, it appears to me that Ivanka and Jared are being groomed for a future White House run.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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