National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster pushed back against the media onslaught regarding Jared Kushner last week, saying there was nothing particularly unusual about the Trump campaign formulating a back-channel communication system with Moscow. Asked in Sicily if he was disturbed about the reports of Kushner setting up a secret line of communication between the transition team and the Kremlin, McMaster assured the press that it was not the blockbuster revelation the media was making it out to be.
“We have back-channel communications with any number of individual [countries],” said McMaster. “So generally speaking, what that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet manner so it doesn’t pre-expose you to any sort of content or any kind of conversation or anything. So we’re not concerned about it.”
The Washington Post dropped the bombshell on Friday, reporting that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s December meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, during which Trump’s son-in-law allegedly tried to set up a line of communication with the Putin government outside the typical diplomatic channels. So far, the White House has not commented on the reports and Kushner, through his attorney, has said he does not recall the meetings.
While President Trump has not specifically addressed the allegations, he did say on Twitter Sunday that readers should be careful about believing everything they read.
“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Trump wrote. “Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names, it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!” Trump wrote.
Be that as it may, this is the kind of heat Trump doesn’t need right now. And it could be time for Ivanka and Jared to get back to the private sector while the president moves forward with his America First agenda. According to The New York Times, that’s a distinct possibility:
Mr. Kushner, who organized the president’s Middle East stops at the start of the foreign trip, chose to return to Washington with several days to go and has been unusually subdued since then. But he has no plans to step down from his role as senior adviser or to reduce his duties, according to people close to him.
Still, there are signs that he is tiring of the nonstop combat and the damage to his reputation. He has told friends that he and his wife, Ivanka Trump, have made no long-term commitment to remain by Mr. Trump’s side, saying they would review every six months whether to return to private life in New York.
We don’t see why this Kushner/Russia story is any big deal, but the Democrat/Media alliance is grasping for every straw they can find to crater Trump’s political popularity and block his agenda. If he has to cut Kushner loose to get free of this scandal, then it’s a small price to pay.