The Three Dimensions of Kushner and the Russians
The Russians went to Jared’s. For a long time we’ve wondered why no one has ever heard Jared Kushner’s voice:
There has to be reason we never heard Jared Kushner voice……
— Mr. Weeks (@MrDane1982) May 27, 2017
Now there is now non stop news for the guy who never speaks in public. There are three dimensions on Jared now.
1. We have the bombshell from the Washington Post last night that Kushner sought a ‘back channel’ with Russia. This is something we seem to always hear about from team Trump. We had Roger Stone’s (in)famous back channel conversations with Julian Assange last August. He tells us an ‘American journalist friend’ set it up. What are the odds it’s Sean Hannity?
We had Erik Prince’s meeting with the UAE in Seychelles back in February. Speaking of that Seychelles meeting we now have reason to believe that this was Jared’s idea. It now seems that he had suggested at his December meeting with Siylak-and the banker from a sanctioned Russian bank-that they meet in another country.
He also suggested that they meet at the Russian embassy. You know, so that the American government couldn’t hear. He wanted to speak to the Russians without anyone in the US government knowing about it. Sure there’s a totally innocent reason for that. I’m kidding of course.
Presidents don't need back channels. Trump can call Putin anytime. & if looking for a POC in Kremlin for Kushner, it's not Gorkov. https://t.co/H1ZMgjKdl8
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) May 26, 2017
You don't do this if you just want better relations, you do this if you have to hide something terrible.
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) May 27, 2017
I mean Occam’s Razor now has to assume something terrible. The more innocent explanation right now seems to be ‘Gee he was really knew and didn’t know what he was doing.’ That’s what those who want to defend him are saying.
“Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.”
The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.”
He definitely has a story to tell.
Trump to Flynn in April: Stay strong. Which was seen by a threat by Flynn.
What Kushner proposes was so outlandish even Kisylak was taken aback:
“Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.”
No there’s nothing normal about this request:
“Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that although Russian diplomats have secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner’s apparent request for access to such channels was extraordinary.”
“How would he trust that the Russians wouldn’t leak it on their side?” said one former senior intelligence official. The FBI would know that a Trump transition official was going in and out of the embassy, which would cause “a great deal” of concern, he added. The entire idea, he said, “seems extremely naive or absolutely crazy.”
“It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and officials. But new administrations are generally cautious in their handling of interactions with Moscow, which U.S. intelligence agencies have accused of waging an unprecedented campaign to interfere in last year’s presidential race and help elect Trump.”
Michael McFaul points out that as Obama’s ambassador to Russia they didn’t speak to the Russians once during the transition-just one congratulatory phone call from then Russian President Medvedez.
Much less during the campaign. Which brings us to the 2nd dimension to what we now know about Jared and the Russians.
2. Reuters followed the Washington Post bombshell with their own. This concerned meetings with Kisylak during the campaign. This is even more unusual. Why would a campaign need to have this number of intimate discussions with Russia-especially a campaign now under investigation for colluding with this very same Russia?
Reuters Exclusive: Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy https://t.co/xAarjmsnGp
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) May 27, 2017
Some of them before the election.
Including BEFORE Election Day when Russia was attacking 2016 campaign. https://t.co/GBi3FJipsl
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) May 27, 2017
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.”
“Those contacts included two phone calls between April and November last year, two of the sources said.”
I love how there are seven-current and former-U.S. officials speaking to them. Just shows they’re on the case. They are really concerned about what Trump and Putin have pulled off and are trying to do with our country and have our back.
“The new information about the two calls as well as other details uncovered by Reuters shed light on when and why Kushner first attracted FBI attention and show that his contacts with Russian envoy Sergei Kislyak were more extensive than the White House has acknowledged.”
“Before the election, Kislyak’s undisclosed discussions with Kushner and Flynn focused on fighting terrorism and improving U.S.-Russian economic relations, six of the sources said.”
“Separately, there were at least 18 undisclosed calls and emails between Trump associates and Kremlin-linked people in the seven months before the Nov. 8 presidential election, including six calls with Kislyak, sources told Reuters earlier this month. . Two people familiar with those 18 contacts said Flynn and Kushner were among the Trump associates who spoke to the ambassador by telephone. Reuters previously reported only Flynn’s involvement in those discussions.”
All roads lead to Kislyak.
“Six of the sources said there were multiple contacts between Kushner and Kislyak but declined to give details beyond the two phone calls between April and November and the post-election conversation about setting up a back channel. It is also not clear whether Kushner engaged with Kislyak on his own or with other Trump aides.”
How did Kushner become a person of interest for the FBI? Mike Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak:
“FBI scrutiny of Kushner began when intelligence reports of Flynn’s contacts with Russians included mentions of U.S. citizens, whose names were redacted because of U.S. privacy laws. This prompted investigators to ask U.S. intelligence agencies to reveal the names of the Americans, the current U.S. law enforcement official said.”
“Kushner’s was one of the names that was revealed, the official said, prompting a closer look at the president’s son-in-law’s dealings with Kislyak and other Russians.”
“FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.”
“The head of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, a trained intelligence officer whom Putin appointed, met Kushner at Trump Tower in December. The bank is under U.S. sanctions and was implicated in a 2015 espionage case in which one of its New York executives pleaded guilty to spying and was jailed.”
So just on this alone: what is the propriety of Kushner speaking with the head of a Russian bank sanctioned by the U.S. government, much less while President Obama was still in the WH? Never heard of one President at a time?
This, on the other hand seems to me very unlikely:
“Officials familiar with intelligence on contacts between the Russians and Trump advisers said that so far they have not seen evidence of any wrongdoing or collusion between the Trump camp and the Kremlin. Moreover, they said, nothing found so far indicates that Trump authorized, or was even aware of, the contacts.”
As for ‘evidence of wrongdoing’-remember that’s a legal term. As Brennan pointed out, as head of the CIA his job was not to look at evidence but to gather intelligence.
In addition, who knows how many other calls there were? As one of the Reuter’s reporters said on Maddow last night-she was home sick though; worst night for that!-this could be the only calls-in itself an unprecedented amount-or it could be just the tip of the iceberg.
But as for Trump’s authorization, I don’t buy Jared went rogue. Not in the least. Now wether he was involved with all the details, or just gave the broad outline of what he wanted done is another question. But we went through this with Nixon. People don’t just go rouge on stuff like this.
I’m sure everyone was talking to Kisylak behind Trump’s back without his knowing it. The media charade on this type of stuff is irksome. We have to pretend not to know if Trump knew anything about it.
Remember what he said about Flynn’s five calls in the day of Obama’s sanctions: if he hadn’t done it I’d have asked him to.
3. The subject of 2-contacts before the campaign-touch on the idea that Kushner may have been involved with electoral collusion.
One reason he’s a person of interest is no doubt all his contacts with the Russians. Another is his part in Cambridge Analytica.
“DID RUSSIANS TARGET DEMOCRATIC VOTERS, WITH KUSHNER’S HELP?”
“As they dig into the viralizing of such stories, congressional investigations are probing not just Russia’s role but whether Moscow had help from the Trump campaign. Sources familiar with the investigations say they are probing two Trump-linked organizations: Cambridge Analytica … and Breitbart News.”
“Cambridge Analytica has bragged about the role it played in helping Trump win the election, a boast that some critics say is exaggerated. But Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, explained to Forbes shortly after the election how data mining and microtargeting won the election for Trump.”
Note that the Russians targeted Democratic voters. A big part of the Trump campaign was not just mobilizing Republican voters but demobilizing Democratic voters.
One example is Roger Stone’s boast about his aggressively targeting the false story that Bill Clinton fathered an illegitimate black son named Danney Williams.
“In the book’s appendix, you cite traffic figures for the propagation of the meme around Danney Williams, who continues to claim that he is Bill Clinton’s secret love child.”
This week the Wall Street Journal chronicled how Guccifer 2.0 didn’t only hack the DNC emails, but also voter rolls and sent it to GOP operatives including Roger Stone.
Of course, Louise Mensch had reported this in early April…
So Jared Kushner, the guy who never speaks in public and is now a person of interest, is interesting indeed.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.