Washington Post: Kushner Tried To Set Up Secret Communications Channel With Russians

Hotline_VHS_coverThe Washington Post released a bombshell story on Friday that alleges that senior White House aide (and presidential son-in-law) Jared Kushner met withSergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington to set up a private communications channel with the Kremlin.  The channel reportedly was sought for secret and secure and direct communications with the Russians.  Once again, there is nothing on its face unlawful about either the meeting or the desire for a secure communications line. However, the allegation (if true) would deepen the unease over the associations between the Trump camp and the Russians.  The increasing number of meetings has raised questions over why Trump officials were so solicitous to the Russians — a concern that reached its apex with Trump’s bizarre decision to entertain Kislyak and the Russian Foreign Minister in the Oval Office the day after firing former FBI Director James Comey.  Update:  After two days, the White House has been conspicuously silent.

The Post is relying on officials who leaked the results of intelligence reports on the meetings.   Reuters is also reporting that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.

The officials told the Post that it was Kushner who suggested the use of Russian diplomatic facilities as a way to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring. That is a rather bizarre request since Trump could have asked for a secure line from U.S. officials after the election to facilitate any discussions.

Notably, Flynn was also in the meeting.

The idea of working with the Russians to create a secret line of communications would be highly alarming for U.S. intelligence officials who actively seek to monitor such communications.  Nevertheless, as I explained earlier, there is no Logan Act violation in such meetings.

There are a couple of serious questions however raised by the story (again if true). First, did Kushner reveal the contacts and particularly the effort to create a secret communication channel with the Russians as part of his security clearance?  The failure to do so would be a major violation and raise issues of false statements to the government.  Second, is there any evidence to suggest that the Russians disclosed or discussed the hacking of the email systems?  If so, statements made by Trump officials could be challenged as knowingly false or misleading, including statements made to congressional members.  Finally, it is doubtful that Kushner would simply take it upon himself to carry out such meetings.  This last question will be dangerously reminiscent: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

Once again, as I have stated repeatedly for weeks, this alleged cover up still lacks a clear crime. The most that Jeff Toobin could come up with on CNN this week when pressed was “It’s a crime, aiding and abetting, hacking, it’s a crime.”  Sure, but it is a highly implausible crime to suggest that Trump or his associates played an active and direct role.  Section 1030 of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes any unauthorized access into a protected network or computer a federal crime and permits harsh penalties for those convicted.  However, there is little reason for the Russians to enlist the help or even inform Trump officials of any such effort.  Indeed, intelligence officers are trained to avoid unnecessary disclosures and to compartmentize such information.

The legal danger presented by the Post story is the degree to which it contradicts statements made to investigators or Congress.  Thus far, there has not been a great deal of such statements to investigators who only this week indicated a desire to interview Kushner.  Yet, the risk rises with these interviews for White House staff given the ever present threat of an 18 U.S.C. 1001 prosecution for false statements.

At a minimum, Kushner’s meetings with the Russians should require his recusal from White House efforts in this area, including the recently announced war room operation with Steve Bannon.

Kushner has expressed a willingness to discuss these meetings and he may deny the allegations in the Post story.  Once again, there is a presumption of innocence and the need to articulate a crime in this whole Russian mess.  Yet, the Post story again raises more questions and answers.

 

173 thoughts on “Washington Post: Kushner Tried To Set Up Secret Communications Channel With Russians

  1. Flashback to 2009. So did he?

    ” There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive. A tested course would be to start ­contacts through Hamas and the US intelligence services, similar to the secret process through which the US engaged with the PLO in the 1970s.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jan/08/barack-obama-gaza-hamas
    He apparently did here:

    “The diplomatic narrative is laid out in “Alter Egos,” by New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler. He’s the first to disclose the full extent of the Omani “back channel” to Iran that opened in 2009 through a colorful fixer named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-omani-back-channel-to-iran-and-the-secrecy-surrounding-the-nuclear-deal/2016/06/07/0b9e27d4-2ce1-11e6-b5db-e9bc84a2c8e4_story.html?utm_term=.234d03383c33

    What a wicked web they weave.

  2. The Logan Act isn’t an issue because it’s one of the most unenforced laws on our books.
    It’s concerning that Kushner would prefer to communicate using a Russian system. It means American intelligence can’t monitor conversations while Putin operatives can record every single word.

  3. Greg Hunter, alt right paranoid goofball, telling us that another alt right paranoid goofball has news bigger than Watergate. They’d both benefit from a bedtime dose of Haldol. A big dose.

  4. Lucky to be fired from the catastrophe, No one with half a brain wants to work for the Trump Kushner.crooks. Your reputation and mental health will be destroyed.

  5. Some Obama people and Lindsey Graham people are going to be criminally charged it appears
    Good. Id charge em with everything I could and force them to cough up their bosses. Obama and Graham & McCain

    Reports: At Least Three Anti-Trump Leakers Identified, Referred to Proper Authorities, Expected to Be Fired Soon

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/05/27/reports-at-least-three-anti-trump-leakers-identified-referred-proper-authorities-expected-fired-soon/

  6. I get it. President Trump is supposed to allow the “swamp” to drain him. The anti-American, unconstitutional, ruling class elite, “deep state,” Intel, shadow government, collectivist, globalist communists who have conducted a silent coup and taken over America, are supposed to be allowed to continue to hack and leak, lie, propagandize and indoctrinate against the duly elected incoming Trump administration.

    And to be sure; Obama didn’t tell the Russians on an open mic to “wait until after the election” for him to acquiesce more completely. And Hillary never had meetings, discussions, negotiations and private interactions with the Russians after her “reset” and before she illegally kept classified material on a server in her bathroom and wiped 30,000 e-mails clean with “bleach- bit.”

      • The better to disinfect you before, and after the plug is pulled. I like the idea though all trash is not in the swamp so dump the garbage in the swamp add the disinfectant and then pull the plug.

      • That dudn’t make any sense.

        Toxins would have killed the inhabitants, metaphorically speaking. Imagine an America without a swamp. Sounds like 1789 with absolute dominion of the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights, sans the subversion and nullification of subsequent antithetical, unconstitutional amenmdnets.

    • well, isn’t the investigation related to the ‘duly’ part of your statement? Whole lot of going everywhere but what is already known and stated ie: Russia hacked and disrupted the election. So, not so sure about the ‘duly’ part…..

      • Please provide proof of Russian hacking. It is virtually impossible to determine the source of hacking. Why is there such confusion in media reports on hacking? The CIA is a master of faking foreign hacking claiming “signatures” etc. Your statement that the Russians hacked is unfounded speculation.

        Every nation in the world participates in American elections to a greater or lesser degree. The unconstitutional, ineligible and illegitimate ex-un-president Barrack Hussein Obama, son of a foreign citizen, actively participated against conservatives in the last election in Israel. On one hand you say participation in foreign elections is bad then you turn around and say it is good. I’m not sure it’s possible to debate with nonsense.

        And with absolutely no evidence for the better part of a year of investigation, according to the very bizarre and confused James Comey, you persist in making a false and unproven claim of election tampering or whatever your actual complaint is. The fact is that the American government determined that Trump won a legal election. You are the boy who cried wolf with the media as allies…and the falsehoods and propaganda swirl.

        There are actual crimes in this battle space and they are the felonious leaks by liberals, globalists and Obama holdovers in key positions in government…oh, and the “coincidental” DNC leaks, DNC resignations and murder of DNC employee, Seth Rich.

    • Haha…He said “Deep State.” Please sit down; I have something to tell you that will make you very sad….

      • Not bad for a light weight Lots of possibilities. No facts just suppositions So I’ll add one he didn’t use. The real classified information pipeline was inserted into the more unacceptable parts of the Deep State Government through the Clinton Server and on to the friends of the left wing socialist fascists, both national and international ) and former Bosses of the Soviet Union by the simple expedient of a gaping entry called Password is PASSWORD.

        Once in the hackers could easily construct their own trapdoors etc for future use. the cover was ‘ I was too stupid to change the password and my IT Senior Officer did not make a report when I refused to attend the required briefings Or KISS principle I have no recollection of that.

        The other cover was claiming Putin made me do it. Then followed some years Four or five of the system being left turned on. Who takes the blame? The original programmers, operators, IT Specialists who all took th 5th expecting a pardon.

        The question is…which faction does this dooooood belong to in his bad self clothes and do? And one more question? Where’s the crime and where’s the facts?

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