The bus that just ran over Donald J. Trump Jr. that is. Steered onto the street by none other than his own Brother in Law:
Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning, and what is striking about his extensive opening statement is the degree to which it seeks to insulate Kushner himself from any culpability or responsibility for the problematic known facts about the Russia affair — particularly the known facts that concern Donald Trump Jr.
Kushner’s statement takes exceptional care to separate him, with scalpel-like precision, from the now-notorious meeting that Trump Jr. arranged with a Russian lawyer — a meeting that Trump Jr. had been informed would furnish the Trump campaign with information about Hillary Clinton supplied by the Russian government……….
Even so, the scalpel is still going to leave a scar:
It’s not entirely clear that the “long back and forth” that Kushner claims he “did not read at the time” is the email chain that Trump Jr. released, under duress, which demonstrated that the meeting was taken with the express purpose of getting information advertised as coming from the Russian government. But it seems clear that this is what he is referring to. Note that Kushner does not say one way or the other whether he had been sent this email chain before. What we do know, however, is that Kushner says he never read it. And if Kushner is to be believed, he agreed to, and showed up at, this meeting without having any idea why it was being held. This, even though Trump Jr. was quite excited about what this meeting might yield (“I love it,” Trump Jr. exulted in the email chain), and even though Trump’s then-campaign chair Paul Manafort was also present. This was a meeting attended by Trump’s top brain trust, on the expectation that it would yield greatly damaging information about Trump’s opponent, just as the campaign was shifting into general election mode — but Kushner was unaware of its purpose.
To quote Mr. Pierce:
So, at least as best we can tell from the prepared statement he released prior to his being questioned by congressional staffers, behind closed doors, the Princeling has managed to throw the Dauphin under the oxcart fairly convincingly. I love this bunch. They would sell their siblings for a zoning variance.
Which of course leaves a few open questions dangling:
1. Is Jared Kushner really this stupid?
This was an attempt to set himself up for the justifications to come. But as The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush reminded us on Twitter, Kushner was operating at a fairly high level for a feckless novice:
Kushner-who took out Christie, ran campaign’s analytics and helped install Mike Flynn-paints himself as an innocent. https://t.co/bU5imLPK30
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) July 24, 2017
2. I don’t know about you, but that, “I didn’t read your e-mail excuse” really is pretty lame. Isn’t he rich enough to have an executive assistant?
Having established that he didn’t have time to read emails generally, Kushner moved to specifics. Specifically, he says he didn’t read the email chain from Donald Trump, Jr., which looped him and campaign chairman Paul Manafort into that meeting with a “Russian government lawyer” offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. There seems to be a lot that Kushner—and other members of this administration—”did not recall” until they were helpfully reminded by news reports and investigators. But more to the point on this case, Kushner wouldn’t need to read the whole email chain to see what the meeting was about. It was right there in the subject line.
3. And finally there is the big question people have been asking for the last two weeks:
Since he’s been so truthful and forthcoming so far—on the Russian money, on taking meetings with Russians, on his security clearance forms—we can, once again, just take his word for it.
I completed my first security clearance forms at age 22. Even then I knew getting it right was a must. Hard to believe Kushner didn’t at 35.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) July 24, 2017
“I used to advertise my loyalty and I don’t believe there is a single person I loved that I didn’t eventually betray.”
― Albert Camus,