Kushner's Liabilities

Jared Kushner remains in the spotlight as the investigation into collusion with Russia continues. Reports say he was picked up incidentally during the US government’s legal monitoring of the phone calls of Russia's ambassador. The content of one call in particular is problematic for Kushner and the Administration.

We are told that Kushner spoke to the Russian ambassador about establishing a secret communication channel between Trump's transition team and Russia. The problem is the timing of the call. Kushner was not an appointed government official and did not have the proper authority at the time to set up a communication with a foreign government in the midst of the Obama administration. And notwithstanding that factor, attempting to create such a communication channel in secret carries additional ramifications. Although the channel was never established, the conduct behind the attempt may come with some legal liabilities for Kushner.

The subject matter and the rationale behind those initial conversations with the Ambassador is part of the ongoing investigation. Just asking for the backdoor channel is not on its face illegal, but it gives the appearance of some type of collusion with Russia because of its secrecy. Whether evidence of wrongdoing surfaced within those conversations to set up the secret channel, we don't know. The substance of the calls hasn't been released to the public, and only the intelligence agencies know if the words conveyed in those calls revealed evidence of any wrongdoing.

But the bigger picture established from this conduct is troubling. Secrets and lies are not acts that occur by accident. Secrets are the front paving stones on a path that something is amiss.

The scrutiny on Kushner persists, because if those interactions or communications between the transition team and Russia before January 20 were of a nefarious nature, rather than casual meetings, exchanges, or conversations, it helps build the case for collusion. There is nothing casual about a secret.

Moreover, there is no excuse that Kushner, who has no government experience and was later given the role "senior advisor," didn't know what he was doing when it came to foreign affairs. As always, ignorance of the law is no excuse. His talk of backdoor communication channels with the Russian ambassador reveals a sophisticated, thought-out pursuit of an agenda. If and when the government is ready to disclose the content of those wiretapped calls when Kushner was making those plans, we will know what that agenda was and whether it was wrongful. The fact that Kushner omitted his contacts with the Russian ambassador, as well as possibly others, on his government security clearance application when required to do so, only adds to the pile of intrigue surrounding this young man's actions. In the meantime, Kushner must be feeling vulnerable not only in his job, but because he is facing scrutiny, perhaps of a legal nature, during an ongoing investigation.

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