Thursday, November 23, 2017

Is Bannon's Scheme To Get Rid Of Jared Kushner Finally Working Out?


Kushner-in-law and Ivanka have wanted to move back to New York and get out of the public spotlight for some time. Now it's too late, as Kushner's Trumpian world is collapsing around his ears. Wednesday, AOL reported that "Mueller's team has begun to question witnesses about some of Kushner's conversations and meetings with foreign leaders during the transition [and] investigators are also homing in on Kushner's role in pushing Trump to fire former FBI Director James Comey in May." It's all about the big "C" and "O" words: collusion and obstruction.

Gabriel Sherman has a major piece in Vanity Fair about how WhiteHouse chief of staff John Kelly has clipped Jared's wings, and diminished his role in the West Wing.
It’s perhaps hard to remember now, but it wasn’t long ago when Trump handed Kushner a comically broad portfolio that included plans to reinvent government, reform the V.A., end the opioid epidemic, run point on China, and solve Middle East peace. But since his appointment, according to sources, Kelly has tried to shrink Kushner’s responsibilities to focus primarily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And even that brief appears to be creating tensions between Kushner and Kelly. According to two people close to the White House, Kelly was said to be displeased with the result of Kushner’s trip to Saudi Arabia last month because it took place just days before 32-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested 11 Saudi royals, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The Washington Post reported that Kushner and M.B.S., as the prince is known, stayed up till nearly 4 a.m. “planning strategy,” which left Kelly to deal with the impression that the administration had advance knowledge of the purge and even helped orchestrate it, sources told me. (Asked about this, Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded, in part: “Chief Kelly and Jared had a good laugh about this inquiry as nothing in it is true.”)

...As Kushner’s Russia troubles mount-- last Friday the Senate disclosed that he had not turned over e-mails about WikiLeaks, a claim his attorney, Abbe Lowell, denied-- insiders are again speculating, as my colleague Emily Jane Fox reported last month, about how long Kushner and Ivanka Trump will remain in Washington. Despite Kushner’s efforts to project confidence about Robert Mueller’s probe, he expressed worry after the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates about how far the investigation could go. “Do you think they’ll get the president?” Kushner asked a friend, according to a person briefed on the conversation.

According to two Republicans who have spoken with Trump, the president has also been frustrated with Kushner’s political advice, including his encouragement to back losing Alabama G.O.P. candidate Luther Strange and to fire F.B.I. Director James Comey, which Kushner denies. (For what it’s worth, Kushner’s choice of Strange prevented Trump from the embarrassment of inadvertently supporting Roy Moore.) Trump, according to three people who’ve spoken to him, has advocated for Jared and Ivanka to return to New York in part because they are being damaged by negative press. “He keeps pressuring them to go,” one source close to Kushner told me. But as bad as the Russia investigation may be, it’s not clear a New York homecoming would be much better for Kushner, given that his family’s debt-ridden office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue could be headed for bankruptcy.
Not unrelated, and also in Vanity Fair is a report by Emily Fox on Kushner's Putin-Gate problem. "[A]ccording to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Mueller and his team remain deeply interested in many of Kushner’s dealings. Specifically, investigators have been asking witnesses questions about Kushner’s involvement in a series of controversial events that transpired over the past year and a half, including Kushner’s role in firing former F.B.I. director James Comey, a decision that many believe was a fatal mistake, and which led to Mueller’s appointment," she wrote. Kushner defenders say he was just agreeing with Trump that Comes should be fired.
Investigators are also looking into Kushner’s role in setting up meetings and communications with foreign leaders during the transition, according to the Journal. Kushner, who met with more than 100 officials in that time period, said he had four meetings with Russians. One of those sit-downs was with Sergey Gorkov, chief executive at a Russian state-owned bank that was on a U.S. sanctions list over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In an 11-page statement issued in July, Kushner said that he and Gorkov did not discuss sanctions or his family real-estate business in their brief-sit down at the end of last year, but Mueller’s team has reportedly questioned those around Kushner regarding the meeting.

...The insight into Mueller’s sustained interest in Kushner comes just days after congressional investigators expressed their frustration that Kushner may not have been completely forthcoming and truthful with two committees this summer in both his testimony and his document production. Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee leaders sent Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, a letter explaining that they are still missing documents they requested last month, adding that there are “several documents” known to exist that Lowell did not turn over in his initial production, including e-mails sent to Kushner last year about WikiLeaks, which Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official.

Despite evidence that he received and forwarded the e-mails in question, Kushner told congressional committees in July that he was unaware of any contact with the campaign and WikiLeaks. In response, Lowell said in a statement that “a communication in which he was a copied recipient and was not about Russia contacts by him (or apparently by anyone else) was not responsive to any request about Mr. Kushner’s own contacts.” On Monday, Lowell told CNN, “If you look at the content of these e-mails, he’s the hero . . . He’s the one who’s saying there shouldn’t be any contact with foreign officials or foreign entities.

The swirl of suspicion around the West Wing princeling has had a chilling effect on what was once an expansive mandate to reform the government. In September, the Journal reported that Trump’s lawyers had suggested that Kushner resign, worried that his meetings with Russians and financial dealings could imperil the White House. As I reported earlier this month, several sources have said that President Trump himself has repeatedly reminded the couple of what a nice life they had in New York before they were “getting killed” by the press in D.C.

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At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

I don't imagine for one nanosecond that Trump was unaware of all of the underhanded dealings with Russians as well as obstruction and collusion efforts. He is the head honcho. He is the money launderer extraordinaire - that is his main claim to fame, other than, of course, his pervasive longstanding sexual harassment of women. His family and team dance around him like lackeys and shiver in fear of his backlash - they would never make one tiny move without his say so. Trump is clearly at the center of this whole mess and I sure as hell hope serious consequences are forthcoming - for him as well as his family and hideous crew of sycophants. They lie, lie and lie and are traitors to this country and so far nothing has happened to most of them. They are still revered by a quarter to a third of our nation - those f..king deplorables. Yet people of color go to jail for many years for minor offenses, and then can't vote. What a country. We should be ashamed of ourselves. The Republicans and Trump are humiliating and ruining the USA. And let's not forget what George Bush and his crew did, lying and dragging us into an unnecessary and costly war that screwed up the Middle East even further - they got away with it all. Never any consequences for the rich and powerful!

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One wonders why, if reporters can find out all of this shit, they have stayed out of prison for so long.

And why is NY so much friendlier to money launderers than DC is?

One wonders why they wouldn't be better off to relocate to Geneva, where shady banking is protected.

The usa is like Panama during Noriega's heyday. Except more stupid white people.

At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless Bannon is feeding information to Mueller (highly unlikely lest his own crimes come to light), I don't see that he has to be playing a role in any pending Kushner indictment. Kushner and the Trumps have all done plenty to merit such a fate. As I see things, Mueller is ensuring that he does his job properly. The dragnet will collect them all.

At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:47 is right. This isn't Bannon's plot. This is more like karma. If it's anything at all.


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