The Lava Moves Closer to the President

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

In that overnight article from the Times, it noted that Jared Kushner may not have shared the full story of that June 9th, 2016 meeting with the President when they discussed it last month. That is a problem on a number of levels, not least of which is that I’m pretty sure it is – big picture – not true.

First, let me excerpt the key passage from the article …

Also under scrutiny is how forthcoming Mr. Kushner was with his father-in-law about the nature of the June meeting. He met with Mr. Trump to discuss the issue, according to advisers to the White House, around the time he updated his federal disclosure form to include Ms. Veselnitskaya’s name on a list of foreign contacts that Mr. Kushner was required to submit to the F.B.I. to obtain a security clearance.

Mr. Kushner supplemented the list of foreign contacts three times, adding more than 100 names, people close to him said.

Mr. Kushner played down the significance of the meeting and omitted significant details, according to two people who were briefed on the exchange. They said Mr. Kushner informed the president that he had met with a Russian foreign national, and that while he had to report the name, it would not cause a problem for the administration.

Another official said Mr. Kushner’s assurance to the president was based on the fact that nothing came of the June meeting.

The upshot of this is that Kushner said something to the effect of, ‘I met with a Russian national. But it was no big deal, not something to worry about.’ That is needless to say, not really what happened at all.

But here’s the thing. The President’s son was in the meeting. The President’s son arranged the meeting. If he had any question about the account he was getting, he could have asked his son. Given the centrality of this entire story to Trump’s presidency, you’d think he’d want to make sure he had the full story.

Now, let me be clear myself. My strong assumption is that President Trump knew all about it at the time. Obviously, however, we do not yet specific evidence that that is the case. So we need to consider the possibility that he actually didn’t know about it at the time and only learned about it in recent weeks. If that’s the case, and unless Kushner hid from the President that Don Jr was involved, it’s just not credible that the President was left in the dark. Again, his own son was there.

I’m pretty sure Trump knew about it all at the time. But if didn’t, and he only found out the real details in the weekend press accounts, it’s because he deliberately avoided finding out.