Sunday, May 28, 2017

Was It Bannon Who Blew The Whistle On Kushner-in-Law?


While monkey man was in Europe whining to the EU leaders how hard it is for him to set up golf courses in their countries-- at least he wasn't lobbying them to allow him to open Trump Unibersities (as far as we know)-- his Regime was collapsing around his ears back home. Secretary of Everything Kushner-in-law appears to be guilty of treason. ""I don’t want to overstate this because obviously there is a lot we don’t know," said former CIA Director John McLaughlan on MSNBC's The Last Word Friday evening. "We don’t know the exact content of the conversation. We don’t know the objective that was a part of the conversation-- those things we don’t know. But I can’t keep out of my mind the thought that, if an American intelligence officer had done anything like this, we’d consider it espionage." That's serious enough for our art director to have... well, you see it above.
Mark Kramer, the program director of the Project on Cold War Studies at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, said Saturday that Kushner's reported backchannel plan is "a huge red flag."

"If the report accurately recounts what Kislyak transmitted, and if Kislyak's transmission accurately reflects what Kushner was seeking, then it's a very damaging piece of evidence," Kramer said.

He added: "A back channel in itself would not be suspicious, but a back channel relying solely on Russia's facilities would be egregiously unwise and dangerous. It's a huge red flag, and it's not surprising that the FBI investigators would have been taken aback by it."

Carle said that while this reported back channel is "explosive," it is worth questioning who [Bannon] tipped off The Post to the story. The Post said it received an anonymous letter in December tipping it off to the Kushner-Kislyak meeting.

Additionally, as a longtime diplomat, Kislyak would have known that his communications were being monitored. So the possibility remains, Carle said, that the Russians used the meeting with Kushner to distract the intelligence community and the public from potentially more incriminating relationships between the campaign and Moscow.

Indeed, "FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump," Reuters reported on Friday, citing a current US law enforcement official.

Kushner met with the CEO of Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergey Gorkov, in December 2016, The New York Times reported in late March. The meeting-- which had not previously been disclosed and came on the heels of Kushner's meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower-- caught the eye of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation Russia's election interference.

Kislyak reportedly orchestrated the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank's management team, Bloomberg reported last year.

The Kremlin and the White House have provided conflicting explanations for why Kushner met with Gorkov.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, in testimony last week before the House Intelligence Committee, said that "the information and intelligence" he saw before leaving office in January "revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals."

"It raised questions in my mind about whether the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of such individuals," he said.
It would have been Señor T to have seem the Politico headline, Russia scandal casts uncertainty over Kushner’s future role-- and strange for the rest of us to hear the conversation between el Señor and Kushner-in-law and Natasha about the Code of Omerta and who it is who's allowed to pardon anyone he wants for any reason-- or no reason at all. "Once the untouchable son-in-law," wrote Annie Karnie and Josh Dawsey, "in a White House where top aides jockey for the president’s ear, Jared Kushner has now been cast in a new role: reassuring people that he’s not going to resign, while colleagues question whether he can survive politically." Bannon must be laughing his ass off... with his office door shut.

The news of Kushner trying to set up communications directly with the Kremlin that American intelligence agencies couldn't listen in on "puts Kushner squarely in the middle of a wide-ranging FBI investigation into whether Trump campaign advisers were working with Russian operatives to influence the results of the 2016 election... 'It’s clear that Jared Kushner will be under intense scrutiny at a time when his father-in-law has named him everything but Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,' said Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former top White House adviser to President Barack Obama. 'It’s bad for the prospects of calm at the White House.'"
A senior administration official said there was widespread concern, predating the foreign trip, that Kushner was in trouble-- but “no one that I know has been asked to provide documents” and that it wasn’t talked about openly in the White House or staff meetings.

“No one knows what to make of it because he’s there every day, making decisions, in the Oval,” this person said. “So everyone just tries to act normal.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment.

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.

The focus on a family member also brings the Russia-related heat closer to Trump. Kushner has risen so quickly in the White House that his colleagues grumble about “principal confusion”-- when a staffer thinks that the reflected spotlight of the boss is actually shining on him. Colleagues have rolled their eyes that Kushner has hired a communications adviser to work on his own portfolio. That aide, Raffel, traveled abroad with him to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome.

Kushner, who some say has sealed himself off from the competing White House power centers, may now be in a position of needing allies. And the pool of people in New York City eager to come to his defense has shrunk.

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.

There is also a sense of uncertainty about how long Kushner and Ivanka Trump-- who associates say likes, but doesn’t love, Washington-- are planning to stick it out. Some have noted that they rent their Kalorama mansion, which allows them to keep their options of moving back to Manhattan more open.

But for now, according to a person familiar with the situation, Kushner isn’t going anywhere.

On Friday, a White House official said, Kushner was back in his West Wing office and had a working lunch with chief of staff Reince Priebus to recap the trip.

Kushner, who flew home from Rome commercial on Thursday with his wife, Ivanka, after deciding a week earlier to cut his trip short, is not easily ruffled, this person said. His plan moving forward is to keep his head down and focus on his work, including turning his attention back to building his Office of American Innovation now that the foreign trip is behind him.

The news about Kushner, whose face blanketed cable news on Saturday, overshadowed Trump’s foreign trip on its final day [a cardinal sin in Trumpanzee World].

...[M]any outside observers pointed to Kushner’s naiveté in understanding the need for caution when it comes to handling relationships with Moscow.

The spotlight on Kushner’s involvement with the Russians comes at a time when the powerful son-in-law has been telling associates that he is frustrated with his job.

Two associates who have spoken to Kushner in recent weeks described him as “unhappy” and “miserable,” in part because he has not been able to make the changes he wants to under his father-in-law. Kushner, the source said, has recently seemed resigned to the fact that the internal dysfunction that has defined the first months of Trump’s administration is unlikely to pass. “He’s still trying to tell people it will improve but he seems like he was trying to convince himself,” the source said.

... Meanwhile, Democrats said they are planning to make Kushner a focus in the coming weeks.

“There is no way Jared Kushner should have a top-level security clearance right now,” said Brian Fallon, who served as press secretary to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and before that as a spokesman for the Department of Justice. “In light of what we now know he discussed with Kislyak, it is impossible to believe Kushner’s omission of that secret meeting from his clearance application form was an accident. His clearance should be stripped at least until the FBI gets to the bottom of this.”

He added: “If Republicans will not join in demanding this of the White House, Democrats would be more than justified in grinding the Senate to a halt and opposing any new Trump nominees.”

And Senate Democrats said that they were planning to use the latest Russia-related crisis to increase pressure on attaching Russia sanctions to the Iran sanctions bill that passed the Foreign Relations Committee last week. One source on the Hill said many Democrats don’t want that bill to move without Russia sanctions bill alongside it, and that pressure will now only increase.

UPDATE: Is Bannon Orchestrating Anti-Kushner-in-law Campaign?

This morning, ABC News' Jon Karl reported that Regime officials close to Trumpanzee are pushing Kushner to "take a leave of absence."

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Can the Trump team possibly survive with this pathetic web of treason swirling around and almost ready to go down the drain? How much longer can this go on? How much longer can any American with half a brain and a modicum of common sense not see what is going on in the White House and with the Republicans? And not buying into climate change? Really? Ruination of American is before us. We are a laughingstock and a huge danger to the world.

No one I know can stand it - of course I live in NY, where people have known what an asshole Trump is for decades. Just that shove at the NATO conference shows what a lout Trump is. Along with all of his other horrors, he has no manners. Pushing a Premier of another country aside to get to the front! What is he, six years old? Oh yes, his development was definitely arrested at that age, although there is some debate about age seven. What a jerk. How can this man have been elected President?

Oh and what does Kushner have to worry about? True can pardon him any time so what's the big deal? How come he never speaks? Ummm, let's wonder about that a little. Something wrong there, too! Is he not very bright and have little worthwhile to say?

And that Bret Stephens, the new writer for the NY Times - what a horror he is. Clearly, a Trump sympathizer. Shame on you, NY Times. You should be trying to woo Frank Rich back. The Sunday paper has never been the same since he left. Maureen Dowd, while humorous at times, is a light weight. Good thing they have Charles Blow.

Watch out for bombing or a war, coming soon courtesy of our Orange Pres, to distract and rally his supporters.

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it really a good idea to permit the intel agencies to invalidate an election with one-sided characterizations of unseen documents leaked by anonymous sources?

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Bannon shivs Kushner in the back. Think that will satisfy that decrepit dung flinger? The nation is collapsing, and we're going to worry about which corrupt cretin counts coup on who? Far better to be ridding the nation of the fools who let those cretins have power in the first place - and that includes all the Democrats.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Hone, it is my understanding that the formal notification by the SC/AG that there is an "investigation" means that the drumpfsterfire CANNOT pardon anyone targeted by the investigation.

Maybe the only non-awful thing that came out of the Watergate Nixon pardon thing.


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