Asked if he knows, or thinks he knows, who leaked the Don Jr emails to the Times, Trump crony Roger Stone replied to IJR in the affirmative: “Their initials are J.K.” Hmmmm. Do we know anyone with those initials who also happens to have a motive to turn down the Russiagate heat on himself by turning it up on others?
This must be such an awkward time for Ivanka.
President Trump’s outside legal team wants to wall off Jared Kushner from discussing the Russia investigation with his father-in-law, according to sources with direct knowledge of the discussions…
The team contends that it isn’t out to get Kushner, but just wants to protect the president because his son-in-law is so wrapped up in the investigation. He had three meetings with Russians that special counsel Bob Mueller is sure to investigate.
That jibes with the Times story yesterday claiming that Trump lawyers “view Mr. Kushner as an obstacle and a freelancer more concerned about protecting himself than his father-in-law,” to the point where lead attorney Marc Kasowitz is reportedly thinking of quitting if Jared doesn’t stop whispering to the president about the Russia investigation. Although if you believe Politico, the problem’s not just that Kushner is huddling with Trump when the lawyers aren’t there. It’s that he’s also huddling with him when they are there. Quote:
[The legal team] have tried to block Trump’s warring band of aides from joining meetings with his lawyers, warning that they could become witnesses or be forced to hire lawyers if they attend.
Trump, known for his freewheeling governing style, similarly wants many people in the room for such meetings and will sometimes ask lawyers for advice about people they do not represent, two West Wing aides said.
How do you give your client candid advice when people like Jared, whose interests may not align with Trump’s as this investigation turns hotter, are sitting right there? Given all the headaches that leaks have caused him over the past six months, it’s strange that Trump would insist on having his political advisors sit in on meetings with attorneys about matters that could land him — or them — in criminal trouble. And it must be frustrating for the lawyers, one of many aggravations in dealing with a client like this. “Many of the problems come from Trump,” claims Politico, “who assures his legal team that he understands their advice but then disregards it, several White House officials and advisers said.” Donald Trump, disregarding advice that maybe he shouldn’t tweet about something that could damage him? Gosh, that doesn’t sound like him.
As a political newbie and conspicuous centrist among the MAGA inner circle, Jared might have been the last major Trumper anyone would have suspected of ultimately landing in the middle of the Russiagate probe — yet here he is, the most toxic player involved (inside the White House, at least). He was in the Don Jr meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya; he’s had other meetings with shady Russians, from ambassador Sergei Kislyak to the head of a state-owned Russian bank; he allegedly proposed a back channel to Moscow using the Russian embassy so that U.S. intelligence wouldn’t know what was said; the digital operation he ran for the campaign is now being scrutinized for possible coordination with Russia; and somehow he failed to disclose much of this when filling out the forms for his security clearance. “Hey, anyone can forget having met a few people,” you say. Right. But how about having forgotten meeting 100 of them?
Also under scrutiny is how forthcoming Mr. Kushner was with his father-in-law about the nature of the June meeting. He met with Mr. Trump to discuss the issue, according to advisers to the White House, around the time he updated his federal disclosure form to include Ms. Veselnitskaya’s name on a list of foreign contacts that Mr. Kushner was required to submit to the F.B.I. to obtain a security clearance.
Mr. Kushner supplemented the list of foreign contacts three times, adding more than 100 names, people close to him said.
Mr. Kushner played down the significance of the meeting and omitted significant details, according to two people who were briefed on the exchange. They said Mr. Kushner informed the president that he had met with a Russian foreign national, and that while he had to report the name, it would not cause a problem for the administration.
Re-read that excerpt again. Did Jared … lie to the president about what the Veselnitskaya meeting was really about? As I recall, Mike Flynn misleading Mike Pence about what he’d said to Kislyak on sanctions was a firing offense. How much worse is the offense if it’s the president himself who’s being misled about something as gravely serious as an attempt at collusion? And how much worse would it be if, after lying to Trump, Jared and his team turned around and handed Don Jr’s emails to the Times to make sure that Junior, not Jared, took all of the heat politically for the Veselnitskaya meeting? Serious question: If Kushner weren’t Mr. Ivanka Trump, he’d be gone already, right? (Serious answer: If Kushner weren’t Mr. Ivanka Trump, he wouldn’t be within 500 miles of the White House in the first place.)
Here’s Mike Pence’s lawyer, asked three times if he had any noteworthy meetings with Russians and declining to give a straight answer three times. Exit question via Nicholas Kristof: Is it time for Kushner to surrender his security clearance until he’s cleared in all of this?
Asked three times whether Pence met with Russians, spokesman declines to answer pic.twitter.com/yBLImfxiFO
— Axios (@axios) July 13, 2017