Jared Kushner sought out and was advised on Trump’s campaign by a Russian who is known to have a pro-Kremlin agenda during the 2016 election.
Kushner and Simes met at the lunch and began communicating, including in a meeting at Kushner’s office later that month. Although the Trump campaign never identified Simes as an adviser, he provided counsel to the Trump team, particularly with regard to Russia. In June 2016, Mueller found, he sent a memo to then-Senator Jeff Sessions, who headed up Trump’s foreign policy team, offering several policy recommendations, including “a new beginning with Moscow,” and in August he would send Kushner himself a “Russia policy memo.”
“It’s very transparent what his agenda is,” said Michael Carpenter, a former adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and a top Pentagon official for Russia and Ukraine in the Obama administration. Carpenter said that while Simes positions himself as a pragmatic foreign policy realist, “he is completely pro-Kremlin and always has been.”
Trump was being advised by a pro-Kremlin Russian during the campaign
The bottom line is Jared Kushner sought out help from Russians during the campaign. The big question that could likely be answered by a deep dive into Trump’s tax returns and financial records is what sort of relationship does the Trump family have with Russians? Why specifically did Kushner seek out a Russian for help? None of this is regular campaign activity.
The reason why Mueller couldn’t prove a Trump criminal conspiracy with a hostile foreign power is that Kushner used go-betweens that gave both Trump and the Russians plausible criminal deniability. Kushner didn’t directly conspire with Russian government officials. He used pro-Russia non-officials to implement the Russian agenda into the Trump campaign.
Russia was baked into the Trump campaign cake, and they will be there again in 2020.
Russia’s help more than mattered to Trump. It was part of his foreign policy.
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