Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Did Jared Kushner Throw Trump Jr. Under the Bus?


Human nature - especially when immoral and unethical individuals are involved - is such that when the issue comes down to saving one's own ass versus throwing under the bus, many will opt to save themselves and allow purported friends and even family members to go down in flames.  In his prepared statement and testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jared Kushner seemed to perhaps signaled that if it came down to him or Donald Trump, Jr., and perhaps even Der Trumpenf├╝hrer himself, Kushner would look out for himself first and foremost.  Of course, given Kushner's past lies and convenient memory losses, all of Kushner's song and dance may yet to prove to be false and could backfire and lead to criminal prosecution - something he seemingly is trying desperately to avoid.   A column in the Washington Post looks at Kushner's apparent willingness to throw  Donald Trump, Jr., under the bus.  Here are excerpts:  
Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning, and what is striking about his extensive opening statement is the degree to which it seeks to insulate Kushner himself from any culpability or responsibility for the problematic known facts about the Russia affair — particularly the known facts that concern Donald Trump Jr.
Kushner’s statement takes exceptional care to separate him, with scalpel-like precision, from the now-notorious meeting that Trump Jr. arranged with a Russian lawyer — a meeting that Trump Jr. had been informed would furnish the Trump campaign with information about Hillary Clinton supplied by the Russian government. Here is what Kushner’s statement says about the meeting (emphasis added):
 In June 2016, my brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. asked if I was free to stop by a meeting on June 9 at 3:00 p.m. . . . . He eventually sent me his own email changing the time of the meeting to 4:00 p.m. That email was on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time. . . . . I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting.
 [I]n looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.” . . . . No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there (or their names), and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted. 

 It’s not entirely clear that the “long back and forth” that Kushner claims he “did not read at the time” is the email chain that Trump Jr. released, under duress, which demonstrated that the meeting was taken with the express purpose of getting information advertised as coming from the Russian government. But it seems clear that this is what he is referring to. Note that Kushner does not say one way or the other whether he had been sent this email chain before. What we do know, however, is that Kushner says he never read it. And if Kushner is to be believed, he agreed to, and showed up at, this meeting without having any idea why it was being held. This, even though Trump Jr. was quite excited about what this meeting might yield (“I love it,” Trump Jr. exulted in the email chain), and even though Trump’s then-campaign chair Paul Manafort was also present. Also note the exceptional care that went into Kushner’s characterization of the meeting. He claims he arrived just late enough to miss the incriminating part of the meeting. Trump Jr. admitted in his second statement that the Russian lawyer brought up the campaign. . . .
 Kushner’s statement does not deny outright either that the meeting did address the campaign or that any documents had been offered to the Trump camp, which the email chainappears to confirm. All it does is insulate Kushner from those facts. [W]hatever the truth turns out to be on those fronts, what Kushner’s statement does not do is contest any of the known facts about that meeting — known facts that are deeply problematic for Trump Jr. and even for Trump himself. The meeting, at a minimum, shows that Trump Jr. was eager to collude with the Russian government, which, he had been told, was trying to get his father elected president.  Kushner’s statement denies any collusion on his own part, and claims no awareness of any other collusion . . . .
 President Trump himself reportedly signed off on that initial false statement
, which means the president actively participated in an effort to mislead the country about his own campaign’s eagerness to collude with Russia to help him win. Kushner’s statement offers nothing to challenge these underlying facts. It just separates him from them.

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