Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, put the pieces together and ripped apart the White House’s defense Jared Kushner’s secret communications with Russia during an interview on ABC’s This Week.
SCHIFF: No, but I think that anyone within the Trump orbit is at risk of being used. And what the general said here, that may be true in the context where you’re trying to arrange secret talks with the Taliban to negotiate a peaceful resolution, or you’re trying to achieve the release of hostages.
But for people associated with the campaign after that campaign has ended and where the Russians during that campaign were helping you, to try to establish a backchannel and hide it from your own government, that’s…
RADDATZ: The New York Times and…
SCHIFF: … a serious allegation.
RADDATZ: … ABC News have both reported that the talks were about Syria, about the crisis in Syria and other policy matters.
SCHIFF: Well, that I don’t think necessarily mitigates this because, of course, the Russians have their own object in Syria very different than ours. They want to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Our policy, at least at that time, if these allegations are correct, was very much in opposition to the Russian policy.
And if American policy was going to change for the wrong reason, that is, as a thank you to their intervention in the campaign, obviously, that’s very problematic, just as problematic as it would have been if the conversation was on relief of the sanctions over Ukraine.
Now, again, this is all in the category of allegation, but it is something that our committee needs to get to the bottom of as well as Bob Mueller.
Schiff got to the heart of the matter. The White House’s defense of Kushner is based on a denial that the Russians meddled in the presidential election, and that they interfered to help Trump.
Rep. Schiff brought up the key point that why would one of the closest people to Trump want to establish a secret communications channel with Russia that couldn’t be monitored right after an election that the Russians are suspected of helping them win?
This wasn’t innocent communication, and no previous recent administration felt the need to establish secret communications with Russia. The ‘why’ matters here.
Adam Schiff demonstrated why he has become a nightmare for the Trump White House. The California Democrat is using his skills as a former prosecutor to cut through the White House smokescreens like a hot knife through butter.
The line that the White House is peddling that back channel communications are a good thing is falling flat, and if anything has heightened the suspicion of investigators, which is the absolute last thing that the Trump White House needed.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association