Jared Kushner had three undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador
Things do not appear to be going well for Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to Donald Trump. On Thursday it was revealed that the FBI was looking into Kushner’s contacts with Russia, and then on Friday it was reported that Kushner actually asked if the Russian ambassador could set up a secure communication channel between him and Russia. Shortly after that report dropped, Reuters claimed that Kushner also had at least three undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016.
The undisclosed contacts took place both during the campaign and after Trump was elected, and were confirmed by “seven current and former U.S. officials.” Two of the three meetings were phone calls that happened somewhere between April and November of 2016. The only contacts between Kushner and the Russian ambassador that the White House ever disclosed were a Trump Tower meeting between Kushner, Kislyak, and Flynn and a Trump speech from April that Kislyak attended. Even in these cases, the meetings were not properly disclosed and the White House only confirmed they occurred after they were reported by the media.
Kushner’s lawyer did not exactly deny these claims.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) May 27, 2017
“Mr. Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period,” attorney Jamie Gorlick said. “He has no recollection of the calls as described. We have asked (Reuters) for the dates of such alleged calls so we may look into it and respond, but we have not received such information.”
This statement is odd because the calls were never described. It was simply reported that they happened. So once again we have a statement worded as a denial that fails to deny a single thing. It practically admits the calls happened.
Since all of these previously undisclosed meetings took place before Trump was sworn in, it could raise potential problems for Kushner.
“First, of course, is the Logan Act, which prohibits private individuals conducting negotiations on behalf of the US government with foreign governments,” former NSA and CIA employee Bob Deitz told Business Insider about Kushner’s request for a secure line of communication. “Second, it tends to reinforce the notion that Trump’s various actions about Comey do constitute obstruction.”
Former CIA counterterrorism expert Glenn Carle also spoke somewhat prophetically about the meeting in which Kushner asked for a secure channel to communicate with Russia.
“We know about the multiple meetings of Trump entourage members with Russian intel-related individuals,” Carle said. “There will be many others that we do not know about.”
Yeah, at least three it would seem.
Despite all of this, sources also told Reuters that even though the FBI is looking into Kushner’s shady talks with Russia, he is not currently a “target” of the probe.
Carle also pointed out it’s probably a good idea to figure out who even leaked the info about Kushner’s communication request. The smart money is on former Breitbart chief and now chief strategist Steve Bannon, who dipped out early from Trump’s first overseas trip. Indeed it does seem awfully suspicious that all of this info started to come out about Kushner right after his chief White House rival put some distance between them.
You can’t pin this latest Reuters report on Bannon, though, unless he somehow managed to fake the credentials and statements of at least six other officials.
[Reuters | Photo: Getty]