Jared Kushner issued prepared remarks in advance of his testimony on Monday. They demonstrate that he’s a much better client for any lawyer than his father-in-law, but then so was Jeffery Dahmer. Throughout the statement Kushner makes it clear that taking on the role of campaign adviser was too much for him, and when it comes to attending meetings—he’s both inattentive and illiterate.
Mr. Kushner said he did not read an email forwarded by the younger Mr. Trump saying that the Russian government was providing dirt about Mrs. Clinton as part of its effort to help the Trump campaign.
According to Kushner’s statements, he wandered into the meeting while it was already underway, didn’t have any interest in the subject, and got his assistant to give him an escape text so he had an excuse for wandering out. Russians? There were Russians?
Kushner also had a handy, and brief, statement about his offer to have members of the Trump campaign pop into the Russian embassy for easier communication with the Kremlin.
“The fact that I was asking about ways to start a dialogue after Election Day should of course be viewed as strong evidence that I was not aware of one that existed before Election Day.”
Not only does this statement perform a neat linguistic jiu jitsu by turning Kushner’s open offer to communicate with the Russians on any terms they liked into proof that he wasn’t communicating with the Russians, it’s also notable for declaring “I was not aware” rather than pretending that such a channel did not exist.
Kusher’s statement is really more of a Bill of Justifications—a set of excuses explaining why he was utterly ignorant of doing the things he was doing.
The humble declaration of humbleness
I am not a person who has sought the spotlight. … My experience was in business, not politics, and it was not my initial intent to play a large role in my father-in-law’s campaign when he decided to run for President. However, as the campaign progressed, I was called on to assist with various tasks and aspects of the campaign,and took on more and more responsibility.
Translation: I’m just a hardworking businessman who got pulled into this thing by family.
The “I was incompetent and only following advice” Justification
Over the course of the primaries and general election campaign, my role continued to evolve. I ultimately worked with the finance, scheduling, communications, speechwriting, polling, data and digital teams, as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials. All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously. When I was faced with a new challenge, I would reach out to contacts, ask advice, find the right person to manage the specific challenge, and work with that person to develop and execute a plan of action. I was lucky to work with some incredibly talented people along the way, all of whom made significant contributions toward the campaign’s ultimate success.
Translation: I didn’t know what I was doing, and just did what more experienced people recommended. Also, it all happened so fast.
The “Overwhelmed by Email” Alibi
In addition, it was typical for me to receive 200 or more emails a day during the campaign. I did not have the time to read every one, especially long emails from unknown senders or email chains to which I was added at some later point in the exchange.
Translation: Yes, I’m a billionaire, but didn’t have a single person I could turn to to sort my email.
The Poor Memory Excuse
Reuters news service has reported that I had two calls with Ambassador Kislyak at sometime between April and November of 2016. While I participated in thousands of calls during this period, I do not recall any such calls with the Russian Ambassador. We have reviewed the phone records available to us and have not been able to identify any calls to any number we know to be associated with Ambassador Kislyak and I am highly skeptical these calls took place.
Translation: I’m not admitting this until it comes from the FBI, because I don’t have another excuse for what we talked about.
The “I’m really Forgetful” Parry
I had no ongoing relationship with the Ambassador before the election, and had limited knowledge about him then. In fact, on November 9, the day after the election, I could not even remember the name of the Russian Ambassador.
Translation: What were we talking about?
The “I thought Donnie and I were having Us Time” Evasion
As I did with most emails when I was working remotely, I quickly reviewed on my iPhone the relevant message that the meeting would occur at 4:00 PM at his office. Documents confirm my memory that this was calendared as “Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner.” No one else was mentioned.
Translation: I was shocked, shocked to find Russians in this Russian meeting.
Overall, Kushner clearly wants to present the image of someone totally overwhelmed by the number of emails and meetings that would be dealt with by a mid-level projected manager designing a cat toy app. He got emails. And he didn’t have time to read them—especially multiple emails sent to Kushner under the title “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.”
And everything Jared Kushner stated had one clear message—don’t blame Jared Kushner.