One of President Trump’s top advisers, son-in-law Jared Kushner, was apparently being pushed out of the White House by members of the president’s legal team, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (paywall).
The left-leaning business tycoon has been arguably the most consistently influential man in President Trump’s ear. Along with his wife, Ivanka Trump, Kushner has been tagged as having a hand in many of the president’s biggest decisions, including firing FBI Director James Comey. Their influence has been challenged in recent weeks. From ally Anthony Scaramucci’s abrupt release to the change of heart the president had with transgenders in the military, what Kushner says isn’t always what goes.
The latest report shows that the president had Kushner’s back in a big way in June when some of his lawyers felt Kushner needed to go. Obviously, President Trump hasn’t heeded their advice. Yet.
The lawyers voiced concern that Kushner was the adviser closest to Trump and interacted four times, more than any other adviser, with Russian officials throughout the campaign and during the administration transition. Some of these officials are currently being investigated by the federal government and congressional oversight panels.
It’s unclear which attorneys made the recommendation that Kushner resign, but former lead attorney Marc Kasowitz told the Journal he never discussed this and was not aware of any other attorney thinking this way.
The composition of the legal team has changed over the intervening months. John Dowd, who now leads the team, confirmed some lawyers wanted Kushner out but told the Journal he was always opposed to the idea.
The problems involving Kushner are largely familiar: he was the adviser closest to the president who had the most dealings with Russian officials and businesspeople during the campaign and transition, many of which are currently the object of Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe – Kushner said he had four such meetings or interactions. Additionally Kushner initially omitted to disclose any contacts with foreign officials as required on a security clearance form. He only updated the form later on several occasions to include what he has said were more than 100 contacts with foreign officials.
Press aides to Trump’s legal team allegedly even went so far as to draft a statement explaining why Kushner was leaving the White House.
The statement, meant to be issued by Kushner, blamed a toxic political environment for turning Kushner’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign into an attack on Trump.
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) September 12, 2017
WSJ: Among concerns was that Kushner was the adviser closest to Trump who had the most dealings with Russians during campaign, transition. https://t.co/Pqj6YrsG74
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 12, 2017
Jared Kushner is rich and married the right woman. Outside of that, what else has he done to deserve this power? Trump's lawyers were right.
— Dan Quincy (@danquincy) September 12, 2017
Remember when Kushner failed to disclose 100+ contacts w/ foreign officials on security clearance forms? https://t.co/ugVqWj0Jfc
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) September 12, 2017
I think we should all be asking at least twice a day now: why does Jared Kushner still have a security clearance? https://t.co/UVSqgzyCHE
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 12, 2017
It’s easy to point fingers and say that Kushner should be removed from whatever role (Senior Adviser?) he holds in the White House, but it shouldn’t be simply to distance the president from scandal. If Kushner did wrong, Trump is right to keep him on to face the consequences. If he didn’t do anything wrong, Trump is right to keep him on for vindication.
They’re Trying to Shut Us Down
Over the last several months, I’ve lost count of how many times the powers-that-be have tried to shut us down. They’ve sent hackers at us, forcing us to take extreme measures on web security. They sent attorneys after us, but thankfully we’re not easily intimidated by baseless accusations or threats. They’ve even gone so far as to make physical threats. Those can actually be a bit worrisome but Remington has me covered.
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