B.J. Bethel

A view of the world from Ohio

Monthly Archives: May 2017

To Russia with Love: If Kushner implicated, Trump is implicated

If Jared Kushner discussed a back channel with the Russians through their embassy to Moscow, Donald Trump’s Presidency will be over.

Russia’s election interference on Trump’s behalf was apparent as early as late 2015. It was in December 2015 when former General and former DNI head Michael Flynn was a guest of honor at the 10th anniversary of Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda outlet, a channel that’s a combination of Charlie Chaplin, Orwell and Yakof Smirnoff. Around this time, Russia’s growing bot and troll army, used to influence elections in Eastern Europe and then the U.S., and spread misinformation, as well as game algorithms and spread ridiculously false news on Facebook, began becoming apparent on Twitter.

That Kushner so brazenly would ask the Russians for a closed communication channel with Russia is no surprise. The campaign hired Paul Manafort, who was fresh off running out of Kiev city limits as his previous client in Ukraine – Putin apparatchik Yanukovych – exiled to Russia. The common strain among Trump’s coterie is brashness to self destructive levels.

That Kushner would be so careless would stick with the M.O. of Trump and Russia’s interference. The corrupt are often stupid, so it should come as no shock Russian Twitter trolls would pose as U.S. based accounts writing in English, and then write Russian to fellow travelers and start making anti-Semitic comments in Russian colloquialisms and discuss local Russian politics even the most hardcore U.S. experts on the Motherland would not know.

Manafort, whose business with Roger Stone and Lee Atwater in the 80s and 90s included running cash and campaigns for fourth-rate dictators like Congo’s Mobute and a who’s who of global lowlifes. That Manafort was outfront when he was leading the Trump campaign, even while the national media let his past activities have a pass (with the exception of a few, most prominently Franklin Foer), he couldn’t help but open his mouth the first day of the Republican National Convention, blasting Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich strategist John Weaver countered with one of the great political retorts ever made, which finally brought Russia to the discussion.

Finding a White House official without some Russian connection is difficult. Rumors, investigations, subpoenas, and soon probably arrest and charges, starting with Michael Flynn, whose role in the administration has been the token idiot in a Scorcese flick.

Kushner’s roots aren’t in international and domestic political campaigns, or in international politics. What’s his excuse? Rumors are Trump’s four bankruptcies made it impossible for him to get loans from U.S. banks so he took cash from Russia. This is often cited as the main reason he won’t release his tax returns. That Putin would use his country’s banks in this manner is no surprise – they loaned money to Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front, one of the final two in France’s recent presidential election.

Trump’s efforts to obstruct FBI investigations, if the news surrounding former FBI director James Comey is true, asking him to stop investigating Flynn, would be an abuse of power. To do it not just to cover for a friend and administration official, but to obstruct an investigation into what could be a cause for war – interference on his behalf in the election – is to a different level.

This is where Kushner brings the stakes higher. He’s possibly committed treason – and he’s the President’s son-in-law. He’s also an advisor to the president. If Kushner is asking to use the embassy to communicate directly and unofficially to a hostile country, Trump knows. If Trump knows, that’s impeachable. Add the basics of this case together, it’s criminal.