Report: Kushner Spoke To Scarborough About ‘Blackmail’ Tabloid Story

Alex Brandon/AP

Following claims by “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough Friday that White House officials repeatedly warned them to apologize to President Donald Trump about their coverage in exchange for him telling the National Enquirer to kill a story about them, one of the officials has reportedly been identified: Jared Kushner.

The Daily Beast, citing two unnamed White House officials, reported Friday that Kushner and Scarborough spoke “many weeks ago,” in the unnamed sources’ words, about the upcoming Enquirer story.

Scarborough, the sources said, “calmly” sought Kushner’s advice. And Kushner, in turn, “recommended he speak with the President.”

The unnamed sources’ claims contradict Scarborough’s claim: that White House officials called him first, and asked that he apologize to the President in exchange for Trump requesting the story be pulled.

“This is getting blown up on Twitter and elsewhere as some kind of blackmail operation,” one of the Daily Beast’s unnamed sources said. “The truth is far more mundane. In this case, Joe was talking to Jared about his [bad] relationship with the President and a Enquirer hit piece he was uneasy about.”

That account more closely matches Trump’s assertion that Scarborough asked him to help kill the Enquirer story — that Scarborough reached out to the White House first, not the other way around.

The White House has not responded to TPM’s questions about the blackmail claims.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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