The Went to Jared’s: Call it ‘Under Investigation’ or ‘Under Scrutiny’, it’s Still Very Important
Michael Isikoff on Lawrence O’Donnell-though Joy Reid was subbing for him-got under my skin a little last night by his caveats on Jared Kushner. He seemed to be suggesting that the headlines make it worse than it sounds that ‘person of interest’ is not a technical, legal term and that there could be reason for Jared to meet with foreign leaders.
Whoa. Where to start? I get that Isikoff is just being a journalist-in the best and worst sense-and not wanting to get ‘ahead of the facts and connecting the dots’-though the media didn’t show this restraint with the Hillary email probe.
But my complaint with this innocent take: Gee, it’s not a crime to meet with foreign leaders, leaves so much out.
First of all, just having Jared Kushner with this level of power and authority in the Trump transition and WH has always been highly problematic as he’s Trump’s son in law and he and Trump have major international business interests.
The very presence of Kushner and his wife-and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump-has been problematic and possibly a serial violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
And Kushner didn’t just meet a ‘world leader’ but the head banker in a sanctioned Russian bank. Should anyone in the WH meet with a sanctioned Russian bank-before the sanctions are lifted? We can speculate about what they’re meeting was about but here’s a working theory: maybe the talked about taking the sanctions of their bank.
Is that too counterintuitive?
Indeed, as Malcolm Nance-also on the panel with Isikoff-pointed out, while Kushner may not be literally under investigation, this is still pretty significant and at the very minimum, the FBI is going to want to know what all this meeting with the sanctioned Russian bank was all about-as well as the many other meetings Kushner had during the campaign that he chose to hide on his disclosure form-as Jeff Sessions and Mike Flynn also hid.
And remember the backdrop of Russia collusion is quid pro quo. The Russians wanted to help Trump win in exchange for lifting the sanctions, getting to keep Crimea-and seeing the US backoff from NATO. Just yesterday’s Trump horror show with our NATO leaders was payment enough for Russia’s interference.
And yes, you know, gee whiz it sure is a fine thing when a WH meets with foreign leaders. But why is the it always Russia with the Trump team?
Think Russia has got no payment on their investment?
After Trump's NATO remarks WH econ adviser Gary Cohn tells AF1 pool: "Right now, we don’t have a position" on Russia sanctions.
— Carol Lee (@carolelee) May 25, 2017
So to Iskikoff’s point, the context matters. This is why it’s not possible to just innocently say-Well, you know, that’s his job. To meet with foreign leaders.
Russia occupies an, uh, special place on Team Trump.
“The problem here for Sessions — and the Trump administration more broadly — is that the meetings the Attorney General failed to disclose are with the Russian ambassador. Not the ambassador to France or England or literally any other place in the world.”
“And that means the omissions matter. Because they land amid a federal investigation now being run by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. And two congressional investigations into the matter. And the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to his misleading comments about his own conversations with Kislyak. And the Russia ties of former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Carter Page. And Sessions’ own recusal from the federal investigation due to his meetings with Kislyak. And the reports that Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn and the Russians during a Feb. 14 meeting.”
Anyway, as Nance says, the FBI is going to want to know what the meeting with the sanctioned Russian bank and ambassador hell bent on getting rid of sanctions was all about. I doubt it will end up being all about the weather.
What is learned is quite likely going to be explosive.
Off topic: I quoted Cillizza in that CNN piece. But I want to believe he’s trolling us here. He’s like: who knew the email story got this much coverage?
As John Oliver would say: Everybody! Literally everybody!!
Actually if you scroll down in the piece he still seems not to get it. He seems to think that people were just outraged over an email server rather than it was because of the blanket media coverage.
It would be funny if it weren’t so damn sad.
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.