Many major media outlets all have write-ups on Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in law, this weekend that are stuffed full of more innuendo about illegal activity regarding Trump transition team communications with Russian government officials. As examples, Reuters has one, as does Fox News and the Washington Post.
In reading each of these, they say in plain language, that it is unusual for a transition team to do X, Y, and Z, or that these discussions with Russian officials were not of the typical transition team protocol. But none of the reports point to even the title of a law that was run afoul by the transition team in conducting these conversations.
Were these conversations inappropriate? Perhaps. But I think the question here, because it is suggested by these reports, is whether they were illegal. At least that is the question I am asking because inappropriate is different than illegal.
Another point to be made is that the reports contain information about the nature of Kushner’s discussions with the Russian officials, as it is put, that they were unsuccessful attempts to establish an unmonitored communications channel between them and the transition team. It is also stated that the FBI was monitoring Trump’s transition team closely, a point that Kushner was well aware of given the topic of conversation.
If Kushner felt dogged by the FBI, and the Russians refused to allow the use of unmonitored connections for such discussions, wouldn’t the FBI have full knowledge of all the discussions that happened during the transition? If that is the case, I fail to see the reason media reports regarding the topic fail to provide the basic facts about what members of the transition team did is illegal. And in the feeding frenzy, the people writing the story fail to see the obvious point that their stories about Kushner foreclose the idea that secret discussions with Russians took place at all. The FBI likely has all they need to enable the media to tell us what the Trump transition team did that is illegal and or connected to the hacks of the DNC. But, geez, they just can’t say any more than the high level point that it looks suspiciously coincidental.
I chose this as a topic for my post not because I am a fan or defender of Mr. Kushner or his unearned position as a senior adviser to the president. I don’t believe in nepotism, and I have zero faith that Kushner knows what he is doing. He does need to be investigated by the FBI for sending his sister to China to peddle visas in exchange for investment in Kushner properties, and ejected from the administration for this, but not about transition team activities.
To the MSM: By all means, take Kushner down. But can we see frenzied reports about real illegality and ethics issues, please?