America has been preoccupied with sexual assault all week and for once, that’s actually a positive development for Donald Trump.
The ongoing trials and tribulations of Roy Moore have served to undercut Steve Bannon’s efforts to push Mitch McConnell out of the way (which is helpful as it relates to Trump’s fiscal agenda), but more importantly, no one has been able to focus on the latest developments in the Russia probe.
It’s been clear from the beginning that by the time this is all said and done, Jared Kushner is going to end up in the hot seat. The only question is whether that translates into an indictment. For his part, Robert Mueller is likely to save Kushner for last, opting to work his way from the outside of Trump’s orbit inward, indicting Manafort first, Michael Flynn next, Carter Page after that, and whoever else ends up implicated along the way, before finally zeroing in on Kushner.
On Thursday, we got the latest evidence to support the contention that Kushner is withholding, well, withholding evidence.
According to a letter dated today, Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein are essentially demanding that Kushner’s attorney produce “missing documents.” Hilariously, it looks like Grassley and Feinstein know for sure that all the relevant correspondence was not in fact turned over because they are in possession of e-mails on which Kushner was either copied or which Kushner himself forwarded. To wit, from the letter:
For example, other parties have produced September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, which Мr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official. Such documents should have been produced in response to the third request but were not. Likewise, other parties have produced documents concerning а “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” which Mr. Kushner also forwarded. And still others have produced communications with Sergei Millian, copied to Mr. Kushner. Again, these do not appear in Mr. Kushner’s production despite being responsive to the second request. You also have not produced any phone records that we presume exist and would relate to Mr. Kushner’s communications regarding several requests.
So that obviously doesn’t look great in terms of the extent to which Kushner is actually trying to be transparent.
And it gets better (or worse, depending on who you are). In the same letter, Feinstein and Grassley also request any documents related to Flynn. To wit:
You have asked for further limiting terms in order to search for communications involving your client and Lt. General Michael Flynn. Without waiving the right to request additional documents as needed, please search for:
а) all communications conceming Lt. General Flynn’s termination; FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act); email hacking; Russia; or the Magnitsky Act;
b) all communications to, from, or copied to Lt. General Flynn from November 8, 2016 to present; and
с) all communications to, from, or copied to Lt. General Flynn and containing any of the following terms: Clinton, Peter Smith, WikiLeaks, Guccifer, DC Leaks, Alfa, hacking, Putin, Lavrov, Russian Federation, RF, Kislyak, Gorkov, Vnesheconombank, VEB, Vneshtorgbank, VTB, Sberbank, lgor Sechin, Rosneft, Gazprom, sanctions, Ukraine, Turkey, Erik Prince, or Seychelles.
All of this needs to be turned over by November 27, according to the letter.
This comes as Feinstein is also asking White House counsel Don McGahn to produce any documents related to Kushner’s role in the firings of Flynn and James Comey. She wants those by November 27 as well.
“In order to conduct a fair, balanced and thorough investigation the committee needs to have the facts and the requested documents,” she said in that letter, adding that “this is also important for the committee’s upcoming questioning of Mr. Kushner.”
You’re also reminded that this comes after revelations that Donald Trump Jr. had an ongoing (if largely one-sided) correspondence with WikiLeaks via private, Twitter direct messages.
This is just another one of those “how much proof do you need, America?” moments. Clearly, Kushner’s attorneys are trying to avoid turning over damning evidence, and while that’s what attorneys are supposed to do, everyday it’s something new. What’s becoming increasingly clear is that thanks to the sheer number of people who were involved in this, it simply isn’t possible for everyone to keep their stories straight.
You can read the full letter below and do try to appreciate the sheer absurdity here. Again: lawmakers know Kushner did not turn over all of the relevant documents because they already have those documents courtesy of e-mails he himself forwarded and/or was copied on.