FILE - In this March 17, 2017, file photo Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, attend a news conference with the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Jared Kushner says Trump campaign was too incompetent for collusion

In an "off-the-record" meeting with interns that was promptly leaked, Jared Kushner proves he may have a point


Michael Glassman
August 1, 2017 5:34PM (UTC)

Jared Kushner — President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law — has a good reason why there couldn't have been any collusion between the campaign and Russia: They were too incompetent.

According to Foreign Policy's report from an unnamed source, during a private meeting between Kushner and congressional interns, Kushner said, “they thought we colluded, but we couldn’t even collude with our local offices.”

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Prior to Kushner's speech, a White House staffer told the interns not to leak quotes or details from the meeting. The meeting was then, of course, leaked in its entirety by an unnamed source, to Wired:

To record today’s session would be such a breach of trust, from my opinion. This town is full of leakers and everyone knows who they are, and no one trusts them. In this business your reputation is everything, I’ve been on the hill for 15 years. I’ve sat in countless meetings with members of congress where important decisions were being made. During all those years in all those meetings, I never once leaked to a reporter . . . If someone in your office has asked you to break our protocol and give you a recording so they can leak it, as a manager, that bothers me at my core.

The presumed confidentiality of the meeting apparently put Kushner at ease: “I’m a lot more comfortable talking to you guys today ’cause there isn’t any press.”

Covered by the supposed secrecy of the meeting, Kushner revealed his plans to solve the conflicts in the Middle East:

You know everyone finds an issue, that, "You have to understand what they did then," and "You have to understand that they did this." But how does that help us get peace? Let's not focus on that. We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on how do you come up with a conclusion to the situation. That was one thing that we achieved, which we were quite happy about — which is, you know, small thing, but it’s actually a pretty big thing over there. . . .

My point is that these things are very, very combustible, and very, very delicate in terms of how you can do, but I think the fact that all these conversations were all done in quiet and nothing leaked out [unintelligible]. But I think we were able to keep things quiet. But I mean, any day something could happen.

Then Kushner said:

So, what do we offer that's unique? I don’t know… I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways.

Following Kushner's speech to the interns, Kushner fielded questions about why he omitted traveling to other countries and meeting with foreign official on his SF-86 security clearance form. “There are 127 pages on the SF-86, but there are only two you guys have to worry about,” he said.

Additionally, Kushner said he didn’t keep a tab on his contacts because he didn't foresee getting into politics. However, Kushner has been involved in the Trump campaign since 2015, and he filled out his SF-86 form on Jan. 18, 2017.

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Maybe the incompetence defense is working, after all.


Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

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