Never Mind What Kushner Said; Here’s What Mueller Heard

More and more, I wonder whether there is a competent lawyer within the same zip code as Donald Trump or his posse. It would be hard to overstate how badly Jared Kushner depantsed himself Monday, presumably in full view of his own crack (-smoking, apparently) legal team.

A prosecutor like Special Counsel Bob Mueller doesn’t read statements the same way normal humans do. Instead of looking at what a witness or suspect is denying, a prosecutor looks at what the witness or suspect is — unwittingly — admitting. In other words, when a witness or suspect says something, what a skilled prosecutor hears is nearly always something far more elucidating.

To that end, let me translate just a small sampling of what Jared Kushner wrote (in the statement he released about his role in the Russia scandal) into what Bob Mueller likely thought about it.

  • What Kushner said:

I ultimately worked with the finance, scheduling, communications, speechwriting, polling, data and digital teams, as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials.

What Mueller thought:

You tipped your hand, Jared, and your lawyers should have caught it. Your brain (subconsciously — that’s how this works) went straight from cyber ops (data and digital teams) to foreign contacts. You signaled the link we’ve been looking for: how much did Jared coordinate with the Russians to maximize their cyber-ops and social-media strategies?

  • What Kushner said:

All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously. … [My actions] should be viewed through the lens of a fast-paced campaign with thousands of meetings and interactions …

What Mueller thought:

This is an admission of guilt. You don’t set up the “it was all an innocent mistake” defense unless you’ve caught your pinky in your zipper.

  • What Kushner said:

It is also important to note that a campaign’s success starts with its message and its messenger. Donald Trump had the right vision for America and delivered his message perfectly. The results speak for themselves. Not only did President Trump defeat sixteen skilled and experienced primary opponents and win the presidency; he did so spending a fraction of what his opponent spent in the general election. He outworked his opponent and ran one of the best campaigns in history using both modern technology and traditional methods to bring his message to the American people.

What Mueller thought:

Donald Trump wrote this himself, and then his lawyers polished it up so it wouldn’t be incoherent. If you were willing to put that dishonest load of horseshit in your statement, Jared, then what else in there is horseshit? How is anything in the statement to be believed?

And there are too many voices at work in this document; it was vetted and manipulated. What was taken out or massaged into obfuscation?

  • What Kushner said:

While I could not be responsive to [every foreign caller], I tried to be respectful of any foreign government contacts with whom it would be important to maintain an ongoing, productive working relationship were the candidate to prevail.

What Mueller thought:

So you were talking to Russians about sanctions while Barack Obama was still president of the United States. Thanks for that. (It’s a violation of the Logan Act, by the way.)

I note, Jared, that later in your statement, when discussing a different meeting you had with Russians, you were eager to point out that, in that conversation, you did not discuss sanctions. What am I to conclude about all the meetings you discuss without denying that you discussed sanctions? (I know, I know: they were recorded — so you can’t deny it.)

  • What Kushner said:

In addition, it was typical for me to receive 200 or more emails a day during the campaign. I did not have the time to read every one, especially long emails from unknown senders or email chains to which I was added at some later point in the exchange.

What Mueller thought:

Only 200 emails? That’s interesting. I know teenagers who manage more daily traffic than that. You’re lying; you read everything. And if someone was paring down your inbox for you, I need to talk to that someone.

  • What Kushner said:

[At a campaign event,] [w]ith all the ambassadors, including [Russian Ambassador] Kislyak, we shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries and I thanked them for attending the event and said I hoped they would like candidate Trump’s speech and his ideas for a fresh approach to America’s foreign policy.

The ambassadors also expressed interest in creating a positive relationship should we win the election.

What Mueller thought:

So again, you’re saying you offered to lift sanctions. In exchange for what, Jared? In exchange for what?

  • What Kushner said:

Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.

What Mueller thought:

They were cultivating you. And nice lawyer-like maneuver there, Boy Wonder: “I never took them up on any of these invitations.” What invitations did you take them up on? (It would have been easy enough to add or any other. You — meaning your lawyers — didn’t. You’re hiding something.)

  • What Kushner said: (here, about the meeting with Trump Junior, the Russian lawyer, et al):

[Donald Trump Jr.] eventually sent me his own email changing the time of the meeting to 4:00 p.m. That email was on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time. As I did with most emails when I was working remotely, I quickly reviewed on my iPhone the relevant message that the meeting would occur at 4:00 PM at his office. Documents confirm my memory that this was calendared as “Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner.” No one else was mentioned.

 

I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting.

What Mueller thought:

The omissions here are self-serving and breathtaking. You (Jared) forgot the subject heading of the email chain (“Russia – Clinton – private and confidential”), how much you rearranged your day to show up, what materials you hoped to obtain, and what you thought when you arrived to a room as well populated as a Russian nesting doll.

And most importantly, Jared, why were you disappointed about the Russian lawyer’s presentation? Why did you have “no idea why that topic was being raised”? If that was not your idea of what would be discussed, then what was your idea of what would be discussed?

  • What Kushner said:

No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there (or their names), and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted.

What Mueller thought:

These are what lawyers call criminal qualifiers. You’re not saying that there was no follow up; you’re saying there was no follow up that you were aware of. It’s not that no documents were exchanged; it’s that you have no knowledge of documents being exchanged.

Most importantly, it’s not that the meeting you attended included nothing improper; it’s that it didn’t include anything about the campaign. This rings of Jeff Sessions’ recent claim that he didn’t collude with Russians because, while he was colluding, he and the Russians never discussed collusion. So too do you say here that, even if the Russians offered your people help and your people offered something in return, nobody at the meeting discussed the campaign.

Nice try, dollface.

  • What Kushner said: (skipping ahead a bit to avoid excessive tedium):

I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required. Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest.

What Mueller thought:

Another criminal qualifier: you did not collude with any foreign government. Right — just agents of foreign governments and rooms full of “former” Russian snoops.

You didn’t rely on Russian funds? Good for you. Now let’s get to the question: how much did you receive or ask for?

And thanks for trying, champ. We’ll see you in front of a grand jury, because these matters are a tad shy of being put to rest.

-bb

 

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