Of all the stars in the constellation of Donald Trump’s Russian influence scandals, Jared Kushner probably shines brightest in the eyes of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Whereas Justice Department holds presidents immune to criminal indictments during their tenure, no such restriction applies to the president’s son in law. Viewed on a timeline, the publicly available evidence is consistent with a theory of the case that makes Kushner a linchpin of the entire saga.
The Wall Street Journal underlined that point last night when they reported that some of the president’s lawyers wanted Kushner to “step down as senior White House adviser because of possible legal complications related to a probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and aired concerns about him to the president.”
Among their concerns was that Mr. Kushner was the adviser closest to the president who had the most dealings with Russian officials and businesspeople during the campaign and transition, some of which are currently being examined by federal investigators and congressional oversight panels. Mr. Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and confidant, has said he had four such meetings or interactions.
Another issue was Mr. Kushner’s initial omission of any contacts with foreign officials from the form required to obtain a security clearance. He later updated the form several times to include what he has said were more than 100 contacts with foreign officials.
“Press aides to the legal team began to prepare for the possibility that Mr. Kushner would step down, drafting a statement explaining his departure,” the Journal says.
As a recent Bloomberg report revealed, Kushner’s family business is saddled with hundreds of millions of dollars in debt for an obsolete building — a rolling financial disaster with no easy fix that has sent him on a worldwide search for investment capital, including dirty Russian money. He met with a representative of dirty Russian money at Trump Tower in June, then met with another representative of dirty Russian money in December, then forgot to mention those meetings when he obtained a security clearance to work in the White House in January.
Former national security advisor Michael Flynn was also at the December meeting. Kushner is reported to have been the key adviser behind Trump’s disastrous decision to fire FBI director James Comey, who oversaw the FBI counterintelligence investigation of Flynn.
After the acting attorney general told the president that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail, it still took weeks for Trump to do something about him. Despite being made aware of his son in law’s vulnerability to criminal and congressional investigations, Trump has still done nothing about Kushner months later.
It’s not hard to see how these dominoes line up, and Robert Mueller is just the man to knock them over.
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