Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, May 26, 2017

They're Going to Jared

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.
In addition to the December meetings, a former senior intelligence official said FBI agents had been looking closely at earlier exchanges between Trump associates and the Russians dating to the spring of 2016, including one at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner and Kislyak — along with close Trump adviser and current attorney general Jeff Sessions — were present at an April 2016 event at the Mayflower where then-candidate Trump promised in a speech to seek better relations with Russia. It is unclear whether Kushner and Kislyak interacted there.

The New York Times reported that Kushner omitted from security-clearance forms his December meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov, though his attorney said that was a mere error and he told the FBI soon after that he would amend the forms. The White House said that his meetings were normal and inconsequential.
Last time I filled out a security clearance form, and admittedly, it's been a great while, there was something about certifying the answers under penalty of perjury. And, of course, it's getting better:
Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.
What would be really interesting would be to know where this story came from. Somebody is engaging in some serious ass-covering. It wouldn't shock me unduly if the story was coming from the Russians.

The Russians could be realizing that the whole Trump thing is falling apart, in part, because the asset they recruited can't keep his mouth shut. In other words, the asset is becoming a liability. Far from gaining a pliable president who could provide them with a cozy relationship with the U.S., they've, instead, have set a torch to the prospects of better relations at all. No sane politician will want to get within a political-parsec of Russia for a very long time.

But the longer that Trump is in office, the worse it's going to get for the Russians. So they may see it in their interest to grease the skids, get Trump out, and thereby at least put a tourniquet on the hemorrhaging.

Trump has a card to play: he could grant pardons to Kushner and Flynn. But that has two problems: First off, it almost invites impeachment, for the GOP would run from him as though he was caught in an airport bathroom, peddling kiddie porn. Second, it would mean that Flynn, especially, would have no shield to use to keep him from testifying.

Trump will probably pardon them, but he'll wait until he on his way out the door to either the final vote in the Senate or five minutes before his resignation takes effect.


CenterPuke88 said...

Food for thought, what about Bannon? While he admires Putin's position and strength, he's currently on the defensive against the wunderkind, Kushner. So, leak a little damaging data on Jared and improve your own position. Bannon is nothing if not pragmatic, he'd drop Russia like a hot potato if it advances his power, which advances his agenda. Besides, he clearly believes that Russia and the U.S. will have to work together to defeat China, so a little distance now might allow for better terms in future.

dinthebeast said...

Apparently the Washington Post received an anonymous letter a few days after the meeting that told the story of the backchannel proposal, but they didn't report on it until they were able to confirm it yesterday.
Apparently most of the anonymous letter's contents have been confirmed as true, which led them to the same question you had: who sent the letter?
The corroborating evidence they got was from intelligence sources who intercepted Kislyak's calls to Moscow, so it could definitely have been the Russians.
Another consideration is whether it was a US intelligence person, as that person would have had to want the information leaked to the press bad enough to confirm to the Russians that Kislyak's calls home were being monitored, something they no doubt suspected, but still not something an intelligence professional would want exposed for nothing.
Russia's first stated goal in meddling in the election was weakening and destabilizing our government, especially in the eyes of the Russian people, who could make the kleptocrats' lives difficult if they started agitating en masse again, so even if president four-yesr-old is off the leash, they still got much of what they wanted: uncertainty at NATO, a non-functional State Department, a weakening of our oldest alliances, a boost for every tin-pot strongman going, and most of all (to Putin) Hillary Clinton not in the White House.

-Doug in Oakland