The Friday news that Trump son-in-law in charge of All The Things, Jared Kushner, sought a secret line of communications with Russian officials that would bypass American intelligence services is four large Goodyears tossed onto the White House tire fire. There is no “legitimate” reason why Trump’s transition team should have sought out a secret line of communication with a foreign nation that the American government wouldn’t know about. Sunday shows be damned; there is no spin that makes that “better.” That’s colluding with a foreign government in defiance of your own no matter how you look at it, and is prima facie evidence that there was something going on between the top members of Team Trump and Russian officials that they didn’t want American officials getting wind of—and that’s even without considering the breaking news that Kushner had still more conversations with Russian officials that he did not previously bother to mention.
This news now puts Jared Kushner in the center ring of the Russia investigation, the one now being handled by a special counsel after Trump fired the FBI director running it. And certain other people in the always-tumultuous White House, people who do not like Golden Boy and find his presence irritating, might be a wee bit happy about that.
“No one knows what to make of it because he’s there every day, making decisions, in the Oval,” [a senior administration official] said. “So everyone just tries to act normal.” […]
But outside of Kushner’s small circle of trust – a group that includes Kushner’s wife Ivanka Trump, and advisers Hope Hicks, Josh Raffel, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish – many West Wing advisers are simultaneously rattled by the backchannel revelations, and feeling a sense of schadenfreude. […]
Internally at the White House, according to multiple sources, there is a feeling of resentment among people about Kushner’s special status as a family member, and a feeling that it’s about time for him to have a turn under the gun.
I don’t think we have to worry about the members of this White House colluding with each other to sweep their worst scandals under the rug. The members of this White House would feed each other to passing bears, if the opportunity arose.
The next question is whether Kushner will—or, in fact, can—stay on as Trump’s most (only?) trusted adviser. Some administration officials are pressing him to take a “leave of absence” from the White House until the heat dies down; given that neither the FBI nor special counsels are known for speed, this could turn into an extended absence.
Or maybe Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump will coincidentally decide that they have successfully done whatever it is they were supposed to do and can now—completely coincidentally, mind you—need to head for the hills, FBI investigators trailing close behind. This is the spin Team Jared is going for.
He has told friends that he and his wife, Ivanka Trump, have made no long-term commitment to remain by Mr. Trump’s side, saying they would review every six months whether to return to private life in New York.
Mmm-hmm. Yeah, that’s it. If he leaves, it will be because he decided to, and not because he was driven out by, well, all that stuff he did.
The more we see of Jared, the more it becomes clear why Donald Trump is so very fond of him. They really are two peas in a pod. Misunderstood geniuses who could solve anything and everything, if laws and ethics and complexities of the world they cannot begin to understand didn’t all have it in for them.