Kushner Not Sure He’d Contact FBI Over Russian Intel Solicitation Even Today
Jared Kushner isn’t sure he’d report it to the FBI if he got an email today that was like the one he got in 2016, which set in motion the events leading up to the infamous Trump Tower meeting.
That’s the takeaway in the above clip, an excerpt from Axios’ extensive interview with Kushner for HBO.
“I don’t know. It’s hard to do hypotheticals,” said Kusher, when asked about whether he’d contact authorities were it to happen again.
It was an obviously deliberate answer, not simply off the cuff. It’s apparent from the context he was reasoning that saying he’d take it to the FBI now would be an admission that he should have done so then.
When Axios’s Jonathan Swan first brought up “an email with an offer of help for the Trump campaign from the Russian government,” Kushner was coy.
“I’m sorry, which email are you talking about?” he asked.
The subject line of the email in question was “Re: Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.” It was forwarded to Kushner by Donald Trump Jr., discussing the timing of the meeting. It included the original emails between Goldstone and Trump Jr., as forwarded email does, in which the attorney proposed a meeting “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
It also explained that this was “obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
It was that chain of emails about which Swan inquired and to which Kushner in the above clip relied “which email”?
Swan asked “why didn’t you pick up the phone and call the FBI?”
“Jonathan, we’re in a place now where people are playing Monday morning quarterback, and they’re being so self-righteous. Let me put you in my shoes at that time. Okay? I’m running three companies, I’m helping run the campaign. I get an email that says show up at 4 instead of 3 to a meeting that I had been told about earlier that I didn’t know what the hell it was about. Ok, I show up at the meeting. I stay for 15 minutes. It’s a, it’s a clown show.”
Swan moved to interrupt but Kushner pushed on. “One second, let me finish this. I text my assistant and say can give me a call and get me the hell out of here. This is a waste of time. I leave. I never would have thought about that meeting again. Okay. Had there been something that actually was nefarious at that meeting that came up, maybe we would have done something different. But the reality is, is that the meeting was a total waste of time.”
Swan pressed him again about how the mere fact of the meeting and its subject didn’t “set off an alarm bell,” and Kushner dissembled some more about how low priority it was, and how little impact it made. Then Swan asked “Would you call the FBI if it happened again?”
That’s when he replied “I don’t know. It’s hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is, is that we were not given anything that was salacious.”
See more from Axios here.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]