“I think the investigations and all the speculation has had a much harsher effect on democracy than a few Facebook ads,” Trump’s son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner said.
Speaking at the Time Magazine 100 Summit, Kushner tried to rewrite history on Tuesday by pretending he didn’t understand what the Russians meant when they said they wanted to help Trump in the 2016 election and claiming they didn’t know what Russia was doing and it didn’t register as impactful.
Jared Kushner, asked at TIME 100 summit why the Trump campaign didn’t reject Russia’s overtures:
“In the campaign we didn’t know that Russia was doing what it was doing.”
“The notion of what they were doing didn’t even register to us as impactful.”
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 23, 2019
Security and justice analyst Matthew Miller pointed out, “He’s trying to define Russia’s interference as their social media operations and ignore the hacking and release of emails, which the candidate publicly encouraged and then discussed 141 times on the campaign trail.”
He's trying to define Russia's interference as their social media operations and ignore the hacking and release of emails, which the candidate publicly encouraged and then discussed 141 times on the campaign trail. https://t.co/irob80R8JB
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) April 23, 2019
This doesn’t match up with Donald Trump, Jr not only accepting the offer of Russian dirt on Clinton:, but directing the timing of the release: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
Video of Kushner:
Trump, Jr wrote that email after being promised documents that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
This isn’t a case of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing. Extensive contacts between the Russians and the Trump campaign were revealed even in the redacted version of the Mueller report, which some legal experts say he confirm that the Russian government was attempting to help Trump with the election.
Mueller found “numerous links” and that the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit” from Russia’s effort to help Trump win the election. Such as:
– Manafort directed his deputy to share internal polling data with Kilimnik with the understanding it would be passed on to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch known to have close ties to the Kremlin.
– Manafort told Kilimnik about the campaign’s goal to win the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
– Frank Montoya, a former senior FBI official, was especially bothered by the battleground states discussions. “As a longtime counterintelligence investigator it makes the hair stand on the back of my neck,” he said.
– Mueller’s team couldn’t resolve the conflict in the differing accounts of the purpose of a meeting between Jared Kushner and Sergei Gorkov Gorkov, the head of a Russian state-owned bank under U.S. sanctions.
– The report revealed that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort held with a Russian lawyer was set up after the advisers were promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. This took place just one floor down from Trump’s office.
– According to the redacted version, team Mueller concluded there was not enough evidence to prove that the Trump team “willfully” broke the law. That is not to say that they didn’t break the law, but rather that it was going to be difficult to prove in a court of law.
There is no world in which a candidate for the U.S. presidency and his or her campaign does not understand that foreign interference and help is unacceptable.
If the Trump family were actually this ignorant, they would have to be tossed out of the White House today as an imminent security risk.
As it stands, they knowingly took help from the Russians with a focus on those four battleground states, three of which Trump surprisingly won by a very small combined number of just 77 thousand votes.
The electoral system wasn’t hacked because President Obama protected it (which the Trump administration is no longer doing), but there are other ways to cheat an election by focusing voter suppression and misinformation campaigns at specific states.
(Additional reporting by Reuters’ Mark Hosenball, Nathan Layne, Sarah N. Lynch, Karen Freifeld and Andy Sullivan in Washington)
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.