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The possible legal jeopardy of Jared Kushner

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Jared Kushner (President Trump’s son-in-law) is reportedly under federal investigation for his possible involvement in Russian “interference” in last year’s election.

The probe may have legs, if for no other reason than the fact that many Americans of all stripes, emotional intelligence levels and responsibilities just absolutely reject the thought that red-blooded, rational, informed Americans (cough, cough) would have elected Donald Trump President of their own volition.

I would, and you should also, hate to think that the probe’s real legs are a desire to say to a rich kid with family connections and an uber-attractive young wife:

Ha! Serves you right.

The technical details of such an investigation, and the protocols which might govern its conduct, are extensive and obtuse. To simplify matters, there should be no assumption that Kushner (or anyone else) is under criminal investigation in the sense of being a “subject” or “target” of a probe.

I put the words “subject” and “target” in quotes, because each term has a specific meaning according to a very thick guide put out for use by the United States Attorneys and their respective offices. Those men and women are the ones who actually have to decide whether, and whom, to prosecute, not the FBI. That’s the mistake everyone has made with former FBI Director James Comey, who did not and never had the authority to decide whom or even if to prosecute. (Comey’s agency investigates and recommends, but the Justice Department and district United States Attorneys decide that question.)

Both terms involve a requirement that the person, whether subject or target (and one’s status can change, incidentally), be notified of his or her rights to appear before the investigating grand jury, as well as to assert Fifth Amendment rights if requested to appear.

As for the meaning of a “target,” that generally means the government is operating on the assumption the target is a “putative defendant” against whom there is “substantial evidence” linking the person to a crime, and is more likely than not to be charged for some criminal offense. Anyone who is a “target” is likely to be charged and indicted, but not always.

The term “subject” means that the subject’s conduct falls within the scope of what the grand jury is investigating, and that “conduct” may not necessarily be criminal, only that it means the subject is involved in the focus of the probe.

Anyone who is notified that he or she is either a subject or a target should hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer, promptly.

As for Kushner, there is no indication he is either a subject or target. At least not yet and perhaps never.

What we do know is he has a high-enough profile to make him, at least in the colloquial sense, a target of the ambitious. In addition, his family connections have been a double-edged sword, presumed to give him a head start in life.

Consider Charles Kushner, Jared’s father. The elder Kushner pleaded guilty to various tax crimes after an investigation during which some rather sordid details of Kushner’s retribution against family members came out, causing the sentencing judge to call Jared’s father a “revengeful, hateful man.” (And the prosecutor? Then United States Attorney Chris Christie.)

Yet it is that Kushner family fortune which (presumably) helped the younger Kushner acquire the Manhattan elite-class weekly New York Observer ten years ago, and that plus the real estate industry connections likely positioned Kushner to enter into and move about circles where he would meet . . . Donald and Ivanka Trump.

Now consider the legal troubles of Donald Trump, trickling . . . no, pouring . . . down on Jared.

This is a still young man whose elders, his father and father-in-law, have acted in ways and he has been made to pay a price.

I seriously question whether this is a circumstance anyone should celebrate.

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Democrats

Bongino: Democrats have nowhere to go on the shutdown

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Bongino Democrats have nowhere to go on the shutdown

The old narrative from Democrats and leftist media was that President Trump was unwilling to negotiate. Senator Chuck Schumer often said the President had a “temper tantrum” every time they’d try to work things out.

This was untrue, of course, but facts weren’t enough to change the narrative, so the President went on national television to lay out his plan on how they can make a deal to open up the government.

Nope. It wasn’t good enough because it still had the “W” word in it. So, now the narrative has switched from “he won’t deal” to “there’s nothing new in the deal.” This is also false.

Dan Bongino went on Fox & Friends this morning to point out where the situation stands. Democrats have backed themselves into a corner, according to Bongino, and the only way out is to address the President’s offer. But they won’t. They’re Democrats.

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Republicans

Steve King on Republicans sanctioning him: “I think they’re just knee jerk virtue signalers”

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Steve King on Republicans sanctioning him I think theyre just knee jerk virtue signalers

Embattled Representative Steve King (R-IA) has been dodging accusations and calls for his resignation ever since a NY Times article quoted him asking when “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” became offensive. Following punishment from the House, he is now claiming he was misquoted.

The NY Times reported admits there’s no tape of the conversation and the quote was written based on notes he took. Here’s the quote as it appeared in the article:

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

King is speaking out against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“Kevin McCarthy knows there is no tape. He talked to the NY Times reporter who said he believed he represented it accurately, so Kevin McCarthy’s taking the word of the NY Times reporter over me,” King said.

He said it’s up to voters to decide whether or not he needs to continue to hold his seat. In recent days, he’s growing more confident that he will win next year’s election despite the controversy.

“Well, of course our phones have been busy and really intense for a long time now, a number of days,” King continued. “But it’s shifted from the early calls on the first day to now it’s overwhelmingly supportive of me.”

The quote, if accurate, is hard to overlook. But if voters are willing to take his word for it that he was misquoted, he may be able to get past this incident and continue his efforts in the House.

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Democrats

Kamala Harris makes 2020 run official

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Kamala Harris makes 2020 run official

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has announced she will be running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. She joines a slew of Democrats who have already announced with plenty more expected to join the race soon.

She joins Julian Castro, John Delaney, Richard Ojeda, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren as major candidates who have declared or stated their intention of declaring soon. Then, there are 142 other people who have filed with the FEC to run for the Democratic nomination.

Add another 20 or so who have expressed interest publicly to run and they’re going to have to trade in the clown car for a clown bus.

My Take

Nobody is surprised by this. The Senator used the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings as a platform to promote herself and her future campaign, which she almost certainly intended at that point. Now, it’s official.

She has a good chance despite national polls showing her lower than Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and a handful of other better-known Democrats. California has an early primary next year, meaning she has a chance of getting a huge boost in delegates from her home state if she can remain viable at that point.

Another thing to watch is President Obama. He’s spoken more kindly of Harris than just about any other potential candidate other than Biden. If Joe doesn’t run, the former President might throw his clout in her direction.

Here’s how it’s playing out on her Twitter Moment:


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