Monday morning, just hours before he met with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee in private, Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Trump, issued an 11-page statement to the media in which he admitted to meeting with Russian officials but denied he colluded with a hostile foreign government in Moscow.
But Kushner’s statement could prove to be a big problem for the president, as he suggested that Trump may have been subjected to blackmail in the days leading up to the 2016 election:
“There was one more possible contact that I will note. On October 30, 2016, I received a random email from the screenname ‘Guccifer400.’ This email, which I interpreted as a hoax, was an extortion attempt and threatened to reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in exchange for not publishing that information.”
Kushner also says that he shared the email with a member of the Secret Service and was told by that agent to ignore it.
But other portions of the extensive statement from the president’s son-in-law could also prove to be problematic for the head of state and his son, Donald Trump Jr. Specifically, they show that Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign were indeed trying to collude with Russia in various manners.
Of the June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney and former Russian intelligence operative attended by Donald Jr., Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, Kushner writes:
“In June 2016, my brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. asked if I was free to stop by a meeting on June 9 at 3:00 p.m. The campaign was headquartered in the same building as his office in Trump Tower, and it was common for each of us to swing by the other’s meetings when requested. He eventually sent me his own email changing the time of the meeting to 4:00 p.m. That email was on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time.
“I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting. Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote ‘Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.’”
With those two carefully crafted paragraphs, Jared Kushner threw his brother-in-law and father-in-law under the bus completely. He attended the meeting, but he didn’t arrange it. He left soon afterwards, while it would appear Donald Jr. stayed.
Kushner may be guilty as homemade sin, but his statement suggests he isn’t going to be the scapegoat in the Russia probe. He clearly doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in federal prison. However, unless he agrees to testify against others, that might just be his fate.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org