Jared Kushner: The "Person of Interest" in Russia Probe

The Washington Post reports Jared Kushner is indeed the Trump senior adviser who is a person of interest in the FBI's Russia Probe.

"Person of interest" carries no legal connotation. It doesn't mean he's a subject or target of the investigation. Or even that he did something wrong. But the FBI still uses the term (see this poster from 2015) and in the public's view, the phrase has become synonymous with "suspect." Several articles today reinforce that view by saying Kushner is "under scrutiny", which suggests they aren't just looking to him for information about others. It's an unfortunate term that should be discarded.

As to what's being investigated, all the news reports I've read say the FBI is looking at financial crimes as well as ties to Russia. [More...]

The FBI investigation is looking into Russian meddling in the election and potential collusion with Trump and his associates, but it is also looking to see if any financial crimes have been committed. Kushner appears to fall under both categories of as a person of interest. Kushner comes from a billion-dollar real estate family and served as a senior adviser, perhaps the president’s closest counselor, on the campaign as well as in the White House. Kushner has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but two meetings in particular have piqued investigators' interest.

....last month, the New York Times reported that Kushner omitted those meetings from his top-secret security clearance forms, which require individuals to disclose all meetings with foreign officials over a seven-year period. Along with the Russians, the Times reported that Kushner failed to mention dozens of meetings with foreign government officials in the lead up to Trump’s inauguration. Kushner’s attorneys have said it was an oversight and have offered to file an amended form.

And then there's the meeting at the Mayflower hotel in the spring of 2016.

“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,” according to the Post. Trump, as the presumptive Republican nominee, met with the Russian ambassador in April 2016 at a VIP reception at the Washington, D.C. hotel ahead of speech where Trump promised to improve relations with Russia.

Kushner, Trump and Sessions were all present at the event.

Kushner's lawyer, former Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick says Kushner will cooperate.

Politico has a new profile of Kushner and says he is tougher than he looks, but the descriptions of him provided by his former employees at the New York Observer are not very flattering.

Putting aside whether Kushner did anything wrong, the disclosure about his contacts with the Russians and failure to disclose them on his security clearance just highlight his inexperience in policy matters, and serve as one more reason reason he should not have a senior advisory role to the man who currently has a desk in the oval office.

I think Jared and Ivanka bit off more than they can chew in deciding to move to Washington and get further involved with Trump. I won't be surprised to see them pack up and go back to New York in a year or so.

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    Jeralyn: "Putting aside whether Kushner did anything wrong, the disclosure about his contacts with the Russians and failure to disclose them on his security clearance just highlight his inexperience in policy matters[.]"

    ... it could highlight the collective immorality of a family whose members tend to make exceptions of themselves -- or both.


    VOX (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 08:24:30 AM EST
    Jared Kushner: the young, pragmatic, hardheaded businessman out to modernize the US government and moderate the worst tendencies of his father-in-law, Donald Trump.

    But what if, instead, Jared is not a panacea for the chaotic White House, but one of its biggest problems?

    As the Trump administration's been sent into a death spiral over the firing of FBI Director James Comey last week -- a failed move to curtail the Justice Department investigation into contact between his campaign and the Russian government -- Kushner hasn't been the "adult in the room" urging caution and scrupulousness. To the contrary, he's been urging aggression and retaliation.


    It was surprising enough, to people who had bought into the narrative that Kushner (and wife Ivanka Trump) were steadying influences on the president, that he hadn't warned Trump not to fire FBI Director James Comey -- a move that anyone could have predicted would blow up in the administration's face. (In fact, Kushner appears to have been "generally supportive" of the firing, according to the New York Times.)

    By now, though, it's clear that Kushner (at least sometimes) is the person who wants to lash out at the investigators.


    The idea that Kushner was some sort of moderating influence on Donald Trump was always more than a little overblown -- there was never much evidence that Trump was being moderated. What's becoming clear, though, is that Kushner isn't just incapable of stopping the president's intemperance or preventing his ethical lapses -- and that he's not simply a businessman trying to maximize his own profits, either.



    There are no moderating influences on Trump. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 29, 2017 at 12:14:42 AM EST
    Even a bunch of 8th graders can see that:

    WABC-TV News (New York) | May 26, 2017
    Half of 8th grade class from New Jersey refuses to pose with Speaker Ryan - "A group of middle school students from New Jersey caused quite a flap, after half of them refused to take a picture with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. It happened Thursday during a field trip to Washington. Reaction from the students' parents are as politically divided as the country. 'It's not just a picture,' said Matthew Malespina, a student. Matthew says he couldn't go through with it. It didn't matter that Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, or that he is third in-line to the presidency. When he and his classmates from South Orange Middle School had the chance to take a picture with the speaker. Matthew watched from the parking lot with 100 of his fellow students. 'It's being associated with a person who puts his party before his country,' Matthew said." (Emphasis is mine.)

    Good for them.


    i love that Paul Ryan story (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 29, 2017 at 07:52:02 AM EST
    8th graders.  you just have to love it.

    I am (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 26, 2017 at 10:26:50 AM EST
    starting to see a nexus here. There were a lot of what I considered puff pieces after the elections, such as this.
    How Jared Kushner Won Trump The White House
    , I am not buying that Kushner went from trust fund baby/slumlord to micro targeting/data mining/political do it all guru in a matter of months.
    At first Kushner dabbled, engaging in what amounted to a beta test using Trump merchandise. "I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,"
    Dabbling and reading a tutorial is apparently sufficient for the boy wonder I suppose.
    and maybe we should ask Alfa and VEB  banks and assorted Russian oligarchs and gangsters about this
    No resources at the beginning, perhaps. Underfunded throughout, for sure.
    I don't think the FBI is so convinced.

    Of course boy wonder could not do it alone

    This wasn't a completely raw startup. Kushner's crew was able to tap into the Republican National Committee's data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica

    CA the high priced Pyschographic Data Firm
    that keeps showing up in this saga, interesting.

    "under scrutiny." (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 26, 2017 at 11:29:53 AM EST
    A curious way of describing what the FBI is allegedly doing. The FBI "investigates," but scrutiny connotes a searching examination or a minute inquiry.  The choice of words, if attempting to soften the matter, does not, in my view, do so. If anything, it brings the vaguely unpleasant notion of  looking through some suspected garbage pile with the expectation of finding something.

    Loyalty is another word whose definition needs a look in understanding Trump.  It has been said that Trump puts a very high value on loyalty.  Loyalty over expertise or competence, for example. But, Trump-loyalty seems to have a dimension beyond customary understandings of devotion or faithfulness.  Trump loyalty seems to involve mutual obligations and beholdenness--family and friends who have become special through understandings or agreements.

    Jared who? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 28, 2017 at 04:40:54 PM EST
    TAORMINA, Italy (The Borowitz Report)--Donald J. Trump on Saturday accused the media of exaggerating his relationship with Jared Kushner, asserting that "I don't know him very well."

    "He's someone I would see around the office and who, I guess, was working for me," Trump told reporters on the last leg of his foreign trip. "Beyond that, I couldn't tell you much about him."

    Trump acknowledged that he had spoken to Kushner at times during the 2016 campaign. "I'd pass him in the hall and say hello," he said. "He seemed like an O.K. person. I never got much of a sense of the guy."

    When asked whether Kushner might have had improper contact with Russian spies during the transition, Trump said, "I couldn't tell you if that's the kind of thing he'd do. You really should ask someone who knows him."

    Trump refused to answer further questions about Kushner's possible legal difficulties, saying only, "I wish Garrett well."

    David Frum was on 'AM Joy' this morning. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 28, 2017 at 05:19:41 PM EST
    As a Republican, he's absolutely beside himself at the direction his party is going:

    "What was significant about that discussion was not that this defense is flimsy and preposterous, which it is. The question is, look at how Trump is changing the Republican Party. This is the hill we're going to die on, to defend these actions?

    "You know, I had joked on Twitter the other day, that by the end of next week we're going to be arguing about whether treason is bad. Not to use such an emotive and powerful word, that's a Twitter joke, and so I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but just to understand -- look where we are! Look where we are, that this is a deep Russian penetration of the U.S. government.

    "Today we have the news that the Chancellor of Germany has said that the United States she regards as no longer reliable. The supreme -- first Soviet and now Russian -- goal since 1945 has been to sever that link.

    "Since 1991, managing the U.S.-German relationship has been difficult, because Germany's now whole and is no longer as threatened, and the temptation to wander off is stronger than ever. It takes enormous sensitivity to manage that relationship which is so crucial to the peace of Europe, and instead, Putin could not have achieved out of [Trump's] trip more exactly of what he wanted, than if he had been paying for it."

    Frum has been arguing this entire week -- and correctly, in my opinion -- that sitting at the very heart of this recent cascade of multiple disclosures is not necessarily a question of any illegality per se, but rather one of personal loyalty and commitment to one's own country.


    Thomas Ricks, (none / 0) (#52)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 28, 2017 at 05:31:18 PM EST
    says that McMaster should leave as National Security Advisor, for his own good and that of the country.  Same could be said for Kelly.   These adults in the room are as adult as anyone in an adult bookstore.  Maybe, less so.  

    As Frum noted, the situation has now ... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 28, 2017 at 06:17:28 PM EST
    ... rapidly deteriorated to the point where an obviously frustrated and exasperated German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally said out loud today what more and more people have been thinking privately (if not necessarily publicly), which is that both the United States and Great Britain can no longer be considered reliable allies, and that Europe's fate is now in the hands of Europeans themselves.

    Granted, Ms. Merkel is presently campaigning politically for an unprecedented fourth straight term as chancellor but still, the forthright bluntness and resignation conveyed by her public statements in Munich this afternoon is rather astonishing in its implied repudiation of both a sitting American president and current British prime minister, to say the very least.

    So, fck Gens. McMaster and Kelly. If their personal reputations are duly besmirched and fouled by virtue of their willful association with Donald Trump, that's their problem and not ours. There is neither honor nor dignity to be gained by the enabling of a shocking betrayal of one's own country at the very highest level of office. They made their beds, and they can lie in them.



    Angela Merkel is correct. (none / 0) (#54)
    by Chuck0 on Sun May 28, 2017 at 08:20:11 PM EST
    Western Europe (and any eastern European NATO members) should certainly look out for their best interests and look for no leadership, cooperation or support from the United States while this current administration occupies the White House. Trusting the US is a fools errand. Donald Trump is a danger to the safety and security of the United States and it's (now former) European allies.

    I have to agree with Merkel (none / 0) (#55)
    by Towanda on Sun May 28, 2017 at 09:35:50 PM EST
    that cooperation with this administration endangers her country's own security.

    And I suspect that France would say the same, but Macron is new, so Merkel is speaking for . . . the former Allies.  

    (Having to say "former Allies" almost on Memorial Day is almost unbearable, for so many who fought and even lost their lives for the force for peace in Europe that we have had for seven decades.)


    The idea (none / 0) (#56)
    by MKS on Sun May 28, 2017 at 10:04:03 PM EST
    at one time was to avoid the countries of Europe re-arming.  We, the United States, could fill the vacuum. After two World Wars, we thought arming the European countries did not work out so well.  

    When Germany sent armored forces to assist in the Balkans during Bill's Presidency, it was unnerving to see that--the German helmets, the German armor rolling through European streets.

    Now, Germany will have to re-arm.  Great.  


    Unsurprising, Trump (none / 0) (#59)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 29, 2017 at 09:42:14 AM EST
    has no understanding of NATO, and no advisors experienced and willing to explain it all to him.  NATO was formed as not only a unified bulwark against the Soviet threat, but also, to avoid a repeat of the deadly conflicts among other European nations in WWII, WWI and before.

     As for money, he believes it is like annual HOA assessments, and paid (and owed) to the US, rather than (other than NATO administrative expenses) agreed upon policies that commit to military expenditures. with a target of two percent of GNP.


    And, I forget who pointed this, (none / 0) (#60)
    by MKS on Mon May 29, 2017 at 02:16:49 PM EST
    maybe Lawrence O'Donnell, the Europeans ARE. NOT. IN. DEFAULT.

    The agreement to spend 2% of GDP on Defense is a new agreement Under that agreement, the member nations have until 2024 to get to that level of spending on Defense.  Are they are increasing their spending.

    The whole accusation by his Cheeto howl


    The whole accustation by his Cheetoness (none / 0) (#61)
    by MKS on Mon May 29, 2017 at 02:17:40 PM EST
    is a crock.

    is a new agreement (none / 0) (#62)
    by MKS on Mon May 29, 2017 at 02:18:28 PM EST
    reached under Obama...

    Had to fix that first post twice....


    "tougher than he looks" (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 07:56:32 AM EST
    interesting way of putting it.  i can think of a dozer other words that could be substituted for 'tougher'

    as far as them packing up and going back to NY in a year or so...

    i really think we are going to be living in such a different world in a year or so i can also think of a dozen different things they might be doing at that time.

    there has been a lot (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 08:06:19 AM EST
    of reporting in the last few days about the investigation picking up speed.  i would expect news to start getting more and more interesting.

    I always (none / 0) (#5)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:10:38 AM EST
    found it interesting that both tRump and Sessions continue to airbrush the the Mayflower Hotel meeting out of the narrative.  

    Sessions for some reason left that out of his amended testimony about contacts, although it has been documented that they were all together in a relatively small group. tRump himself has repeatedly lied about meeting him, until the the WH finally there was some kind of handshake and brief conversation in a receiving line situation.

    Sessions managed to pass off his meeting at as brief meaningless encounter, you would think that out of an abundance of caution would have mentioned this particular "casual" encounter.

    I was unaware of Kushner's involvement in this meeting but apparently he was some kind of prime mover behind it

    The Center for the National Interest was originally contacted by Trump's savvy son-in-law, Jared Kushner
    Although this source doth seem to protest too much
    Writing in Politico Europe, for example, James Kirchick divined a nefarious move on the part of the National Interest and the Center for the National Interest (which publishes the magazine), in tandem with Trump adviser and former lobbyist Paul Manafort, to buff Trump's image on behalf of the Kremlin. Sorry, but this sees a coherent conspiracy where this is none. The Center for the National Interest was originally contacted by Trump's savvy son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about hosting the event, long before Manafort was even associated with the campaign.
    in trying to minimize Manafort's involvement.

    its 6 o'clock (eastern) (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 05:21:35 PM EST
    do you know where your daily blockbuster OMG Trump/Russia story is?

    you almost think they have decided to let Jared cook over the long weekend.

    in other news
    they say there will now be a "team of lawyers" who will "vet" Trumps tweets.   I am not making this up.

    couple of things

    i hope we get photos of this "team" hovering around Trump as he engages in his daily 5am BM which has been widely reported as "tweet time".   perhaps they will construct some sort of conference table with a "throne" at the head?

    also, i am considering getting a team of lawyers to vet my comments here.

    I will volunteer (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Peter G on Fri May 26, 2017 at 08:45:09 PM EST
    to be on your comment-vetting team of lawyers, if MKS and mm will join me. Others?

    Jeez (none / 0) (#20)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 26, 2017 at 08:52:28 PM EST
    ain't it bad enough having Jeralyn breathing down our necks?

    I thought that the point of the exercise (none / 0) (#21)
    by Peter G on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:00:51 PM EST
    was to protect Howdy from my old friend, Jeralyn.

    Ha (none / 0) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:02:27 PM EST
    I knew there would be volunteers.

    But how's would you like to be on the presidents team?


    What's the hourly rate, (none / 0) (#24)
    by Peter G on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:04:47 PM EST
    I wonder.

    It (none / 0) (#27)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:22:56 PM EST
    looks like it's skyrocketing on the demand side of the old econ 101 curve.

    WSJ (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 05:28:33 PM EST
    One major change under consideration would vet the president's social media posts through a team of lawyers, who would decide if any needed to be adjusted or curtailed. The idea, said one of Mr. Trump's advisers, is to create a system so that tweets "don't go from the president's mind out to the universe."

    i wanted to find the actual quote just for the "escaping from the presidents mind into the universe" part

    i was sure you would think i made it up


    I swear (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 26, 2017 at 07:44:59 PM EST
    Howdy you are the only person that can make me laugh about all this.

    Here you (none / 0) (#10)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 26, 2017 at 06:15:04 PM EST
    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.

    In my opinion (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by MKS on Fri May 26, 2017 at 06:26:16 PM EST
    I fully believe that they will establish Cheeto made a deal with Russians......

    this is just bizarre (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 06:32:49 PM EST
    the reporting is Kush suggested this to the Russian Ambssador/Spy who was "taken aback".

    that this secret line would be in the embassy in NY.

    just WTF?

    the best part is this secret line of communication was being monitored by US intel who provided this information.  the guy is like Dr Evil.  or maybe he is Mini ME.


    the POST (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 06:37:17 PM EST
    just released another big story that the Senate Intel Committee is officially requesting documents from the Committee To ReElect the President, oh, sorry, I mean the Trump Campaign.

    This is curious (none / 0) (#29)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 27, 2017 at 07:21:47 AM EST
    The Post was first alerted in mid-December to the meeting by an anonymous letter, which said, among other things, that Kushner had talked to Kislyak about setting up the communications channel. This week, officials who reviewed the letter and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence said the portion about the secret channel was consistent with their understanding of events.

    This is not how leaks work, the Post of course filed it away until the spigot of Kushner opened. It seems to me that some "amateur" leaker dumped this very early, anybody from IC/LEO wanting to get this out there would have gone the standard "unnamed official" route. Who wrote this letter? Why?

    Also, "among other things" is one hell of a loaded phrase here. It did seem to presage Eric Prince's adventure,

    In addition to their discussion about setting up the communications channel, Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak also talked about arranging a meeting between a representative of Trump and a "Russian contact" in a third country whose name was not identified, according to the anonymous letter.

    The Post reported in April that Erik Prince, the founder of the private security firm Blackwater, now called Academi, and an informal adviser to the Trump transition team, met on Jan. 11 -- nine days before Trump's inauguration -- in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean with a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.



    one thing i heard last night (none / 0) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 07:43:24 AM EST
    that i had not before or maybe did but lost it in the fire hose of stories was that around the same time of the secret back door (literally) meeting with the Russian Ambassador there was also a secret meeting, not in Trump Tower but somewhere else, with the Prince of Abu Dhabi.  

    interesting because he was the facilitator of the Prince meeting in the Seychelles.


    btw (none / 0) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 07:48:55 AM EST
    the only way us intel found out this guy, Prince of Abu Dhabi, was in the country was when his name turned up on a flight manifest.

    Also news to me (none / 0) (#32)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 27, 2017 at 08:42:20 AM EST
    but here it is,
    Trump's advisers were similarly secretive about meetings with leaders from the United Arab Emirates. The Obama White House only learned that the crown prince of Abu Dhabi was flying to New York in December to see Kushner, Flynn and Steven Bannon, another top Trump adviser, because U.S. border agents in the UAE spotted the Emirate leader's name on a flight manifest

    Also of interest (none / 0) (#33)
    by Lora on Sat May 27, 2017 at 09:18:47 AM EST
    On Rachel Maddow last night (Ari sitting in -- I hope she is better soon!) it appeared that the reporter from the Post may have some idea of who the anonymous letter writer could be, but is all about protecting the alleged source (and appropriately so, given all the circumstances).

    I saw that (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 09:40:34 AM EST
    I was wondering how long before Trump/Kushner Inc starts threatening those involved with jail time unless they give that information up.

    Marcy Wheeler (none / 0) (#36)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 27, 2017 at 10:00:19 AM EST
    does some speculating
    But the fascinating detail is that WaPo received an anonymous letter with details of this meeting -- and other things that the WaPo suggests it may not yet have confirmed -- in mid-December.
    She lists three possibilities the IC, the Russians or a limited subset of the transition team.  Like me she leans toward the latter
    Which (barring a spook sending the letter) would seem to leave a Trump associate. Reportedly, WaPo's Miller said that the letter appears to come from someone inside the Trump transition. Anyone else at the meeting would seem to be an immediate target for Trump retaliation. Though it is possible that Mike Flynn sent the letter, realizing he was getting set up by Trump, which would make the delay in reporting this detail rather interesting. That said, he would have little reason to do so in December, as opposed to now, given that he faces criminal investigation.  

    Outside of Flynn, though, it's not clear many people knew this meeting ever happened, much less what happened in it. The meeting was first disclosed by the New Yorker, following which the White House quickly added (in a story to the NYT) Flynn to the story -- suggesting he, and not the President's son-in-law suggested the communication channel.

    Then she drops an interesting name.
    So there wouldn't be that many transition staffers who would know of the meeting by mid-December.
    That said, one person who knew about the meeting ahead of time was Marshall Billingslea, who tried to warn Flynn about Kislyak. And his request for the Kislyak profile would have alerted the CIA to his concerns about the meeting.

    It's looking (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 26, 2017 at 07:48:39 PM EST
    more and more like that.

    Where are all our email trolls that swore boring emails asking what time The Good Wife came on TV were the end of the world? I also seem to recall them calling me "Putin Obsessed". Ha, I'm getting the last laugh at them it would seem.


    True (none / 0) (#19)
    by MKS on Fri May 26, 2017 at 08:49:43 PM EST
    It does look like it's worse than a what a biased liberal would think.

    I am reconsidering (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:04:39 PM EST
    What I said yesterday about collusion of consequence

    But I still can't believe all this was just about election meddling.


    Cheeto, Inc? (none / 0) (#25)
    by MKS on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:08:04 PM EST
    Maybe keeping Cheeto's finances going....Maybe blackmail to keep the Russians quiet about past dealings.....

    Steele dosier?

    Good lord, this is just wild stuff.


    Max Boot on MSNBC (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:32:55 PM EST
    Just quoted a line from the Reuters story, the third big breaking story tonight.

    I rewound to get the quite right -

    "FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aids that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump".



    Yes, Boom. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 27, 2017 at 11:15:22 AM EST
    When talking Trump and Kushner, a good bet is to follow the money (or loans).  This line from the Reuters story was mentioned by Max Boot, but was not emphasized by others.

     This would go a long way toward explaining why the rush; certainly, if a new or novel approach was to be taken in relationships with Russia (perhaps, a white, Christian (non Muslim), retro Western society) it would take some time and its start could wait until after the inauguration.

     On the other hand, a transactional purpose would make more sense. If this is part of the story is true, with quid pro quo lurking in the stinking garbage pile, it will be President Pence in short order (unless he is among those people with ties, not counting the long red ones).


    David Crum (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 11:19:48 AM EST
    Had a great line last night

    "What does the president owe and to whom does he owe it?"


    Damn (none / 0) (#41)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 11:20:11 AM EST
    David FRUM

    It was reported today (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 09:16:26 PM EST
    Trump, in response to the escalating crisis, is in the process of putting together a team of "street fighters".

    Those exact words.  The way this is going I wonder if I am the only one who wonders just exactly how literally we should take that.


    It's rats-backed-into-a-corner time (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by jondee on Sat May 27, 2017 at 09:47:19 AM EST
    This is so painful for some people (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 12:50:58 PM EST
    General Milley was giving talks about selective disobedience when orders are given that are harmful to the larger mission. He has given talks about our military being too isolated and separated from the civilians they serve.

    Those talks took place around talking about needing a new AUMF before forces could deploy into large scale combat ever again. That was when everyone thought Clinton was a sure thing. After Trump was elected that whole conference seemed to just disappear. It was mostly scrubbed from online reference. I was at first suspicious that some Generals were willing to give Trump everything. But I'm suspicious for my own reasons and must acknowledge that. I don't know why they took everything down.

    Late this week senior officers received links to General Milley's Selective Disobedience writings and discussion in their .mil email. Nobody is saying why. It's just a concept, some discussions that have been had. And McMaster destroyed himself. Nobody wants to see that again I guess.


    It does seem that McMaster's ( odd? Naive? (none / 0) (#47)
    by caseyOR on Sat May 27, 2017 at 01:50:56 PM EST
    downright ridiculous?) remarks about Jared Kushner's Russia back channel meeting have shown McMaster to not be the man many thought he was.

    Surely McMaster is not as stupid as his comments on both Trump's blabbing about Israeli intelligence to Kislyak and Lavrov and Kushner would indicate. What is going on with McMaster?

    And then we have Gen. John Kelly at DHS, also IMO , destroying his reputation with his public remarks and his actions.


    And why would McMaster comment (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 02:23:10 PM EST
    On an FBI investigation? I don't understand how or why he would have any comment. If the FBI finds something, he just blew his foot off. He's the NSA who gave these guys a pass, said he wasn't concerned.

    Kelly is a Marine (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 01:55:53 PM EST
    I expect few of them to be capale of high functioning civilian governance positions.

    Nobody understands McMaster right now. A lot of people pretty stricken.


    you beat me by 5 seconds (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 06:16:06 PM EST
    still (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 26, 2017 at 06:20:00 PM EST
    as far as letting him cook,  this seems like basting.

    Yes, a slow bake, (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 27, 2017 at 11:25:46 AM EST
    the drip by drip is apparently a calculus--and, then, the buzzer rings right after the Putinesque speech given by Trump at NATO. No Article 5 mentioned, chiding the policies as if falling behind in dues at Mar a Lago, snark about the cost of the new NATO headquarters, and his boorish behavior (which may be considered more concerning by Europeans than his remarks).

     It seems, as if, worries exist on the part of those investigating and reporting, that waiting the several months or years for the special counsel's painstaking investigation to yield results may introduce irrevocable damage to the country.  Time is of the essence if espionage is somehow involved or, even, if there is an unwitting and compromised official near the White House.


    The strategy looks to be... (none / 0) (#43)
    by desertswine on Sat May 27, 2017 at 12:09:25 PM EST
    to undermine the EU and NATO using various far right wing nationalist groups as a tool.  The long-term goal escapes me but it seems to be for the benefit of Russia and the oligarchs.  Trump is delusional but so very useful. This is a very dangerous time.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 12:13:32 PM EST
    A dangerous time.

    Also one of great opportunity


    For Those Hoping This Takes Down Trump (none / 0) (#37)
    by RickyJim on Sat May 27, 2017 at 10:26:06 AM EST
    Stephen Rodrick's OPED "Do We Really Want Mike Pence to be President?" should sober you up.

    Be careful shouting from those rooftops (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 10:31:30 AM EST
    You could fall and break a hip

    Well, in the end... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Lora on Mon May 29, 2017 at 03:20:55 PM EST
    From the op-ed you linked:

    Do I think Mike Pence is less likely to start a nuclear war than Donald Trump or to throw a reporter in jail over a Twitter beef about his daughter's shoe line? Absolutely. There is that upside.

    I wouldn't let fear of Pence stop any movement to trump the Trump.  But then, Resist Pence.


    The Paris Climates accords (none / 0) (#45)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 27, 2017 at 12:36:46 PM EST
    Will be an interesting window into how much trouble TRump think he is in

    If he follows his petulant instincts and drops out, that's one thing.
    If he goes along it says he is really freaked out.


    Jesus, now Kelly is defending Kushner (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 29, 2017 at 05:55:47 PM EST
    Chokes a little though when asked if it's really okay setting up a back channel using Russian locations and Russian equipment.

    Someday some bright rising Colonel is going to write a NY Times best seller about McMaster and Kelly titled 'Complicit'.

    And we're all trying to get Veterans hired. Kelly is a walking billboard against hiring Veterans. Don't hire a Vet unless you need someone who is autocrat enabling and an oligarchy builder.

    Generals get out from in front of the cameras! Are ya'll just attention whores or are you trying to get a sanctioned Russian bank loan? History is watching, watching you both lose BIGLY!

    There is a long history (5.00 / 5) (#65)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 29, 2017 at 06:26:52 PM EST
    Of so called back channel communications

    What they tried to do was not that.  It wasn't and we need to stop calling it that and allowing them to get away with calling it that.

    Setting up a line of communicAtion with a hostile government with the clear purpose of shielding it from US officials and Intel community is not "back channel communications.   It's espionage.  Thats what Clapper called it with the caveat of "if anyone else did it".

    Let's drop the caveat and call it what it is.


    Thank you Captain (none / 0) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 29, 2017 at 07:00:35 PM EST
    I did not get to see Clapper, just Kelly. Too busy

    But you know who gets to say it's not espionage? The President

    To my knowledge it's a President's call who he wants to shield communications from.


    mea culpa (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 29, 2017 at 07:12:55 PM EST
    not Clapper, McLaughlan

    A former CIA director has said that Jared Kushner's secret back channel to Russia would have been considered espionage if an intelligence officer had done the same thing - provided all the reported details about the president's son-in-law's activities are true.
    George W. Bush's former CIA Director John McLaughlan gave his thoughts on the latest round of Kushner allegations.
    'I don't want to overstate this because obviously there is a lot we don't know - we don't know the exact content of the conversation,' McLaughlan said on MSNBC's The Last Word on Friday night.
    '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.'

    I do not think the President's powers (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by caseyOR on Mon May 29, 2017 at 09:35:51 PM EST
    and privileges extend to this. Using the top secret communications network of another country to share info seems like a bridge too far even forcpresidential privilege. And if it turns out that Kushner/Trump were planning to trade ending the sanctions on Russia for Russian loans to their cronies and businesses, well, that cannot possibly be acceptable.

    It may not be acceptable (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 29, 2017 at 11:57:12 PM EST
    But outside of emoluments clause, probably not illegal. Immoral, unethical, Impeachable outside of this heinous Congress? Sure. But probably not illegal. When it comes to "secrets" there isn't much that hinders a President because every decision can be cast in the light of the needs of this President's governance. He's already said our lack of "communicating" with Russia has endangered the nation. How Obama handled things placed us all in danger. And he's the elected President, his vision, his perceptions reign. Especially with a Congress that will not check him.

    We've never elected such a conman. President's normally have some sort of moral compass. This one wakes up every morning to a new compass.


    But that argument is wrong, MTracy (none / 0) (#70)
    by Towanda on Thu Jun 01, 2017 at 02:44:52 AM EST
    because this was done, by civilians, when Obama was president.

    I hope so Towanda (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 02, 2017 at 10:37:39 PM EST
    But can a sitting President be charged? I thought they had to be impeached first. And this Republican congress isn't going to do that.