Trump Lawyers Wanted Kushner to Resign

The Wall Street Journal reports that some of Donald Trump’s attorneys handling the Russia investigation wanted his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to resign his position as a senior adviser at the White House because of his contacts with the Russians and failure to disclose them.


Some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers earlier this summer concluded that Jared Kushner should step down as senior White House adviser because of possible legal complications related to a probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and aired concerns about him to the president, people familiar with the matter said.

Among their concerns was that Mr. Kushner was the adviser closest to the president who had the most dealings with Russian officials and businesspeople during the campaign and transition, some of which are currently being examined by federal investigators and congressional oversight panels. Mr. Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and confidant, has said he had four such meetings or interactions.

Another issue was Mr. Kushner’s initial omission of any contacts with foreign officials from the form required to obtain a security clearance. He later updated the form several times to include what he has said were more than 100 contacts with foreign officials…

After some members of the legal team aired their concerns to Mr. Trump in June, including in at least one meeting in the White House, press aides to the legal team began to prepare for the possibility that Mr. Kushner would step down, drafting a statement explaining his departure, said people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump wasn’t persuaded that Mr. Kushner needed to leave. One person said Mr. Trump’s view was that Mr. Kushner hadn’t done anything wrong and that there was no need for him to step down.

It certainly would have been the smart strategic thing to do, at the very least, but Trump is not capable of thinking strategically for very long, if at all. He has extraordinary (and entirely unjustified) confidence in his gut feelings and that is how he makes virtually every decision. And while he may jettison friends and advisers like he’s throwing out the wrapper on his Big Mac, he remains steadfastly loyal to his own family, including Kushner. They’re the only ones he really trusts.

And let’s face it, no matter what Kushner did, Trump would believe that he hadn’t done anything wrong. He would find some rationalization for it, as he has for his other kids, no matter how clearly out of bounds his actions might be. The moment it was revealed that he held conversations with Russian officials seeking a secret backchannel that would evade the surveillance of our own intelligence services, he should have been stripped of his security clearance and sent packing, if not actually prosecuted (no, not for treason, for crying out loud, but perhaps for some sort of charge of conspiracy to undermine our national security, or perhaps a Logan act violation).

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