Report: Kushner Angry With WH Defense Of Trump Jr. Meeting With Russia Lawyer

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Jared Kushner is reportedly pushing for a more aggressive White House defense of the meeting he attended between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, according to White House aides who spoke to Politico.

According to Politico’s sources, Kushner asked press secretary Sean Spicer and other communication staffers to push out more aggressive talking points on the latest Russia controversy, apparently asking the team to complain more about TV news chyrons, call individual reporters to update their stories with White House statements, release surrogates and get op-eds about the meeting in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Spicer and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued it would be better to leave the majority of communication to outside legal counsel and had concerns about making the White House defend a meeting they don’t know all the details of, according to Politico.

Kushner’s frustration with the White House communication strategy isn’t new, and he has apparently been pushing for reorganization of that department, saying they need offensive and defensive communications teams. That’s why the President’s son-in-law got his own public relations person, Politico reported.

Two of Politico’s sources suggested White House staffers are taking a step back from the issue because they don’t want to get into legal trouble.

“That’s the other problem is that some of these staffers can’t afford lawyers. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, how is [deputy press secretary] Lindsay Walters going to pay for that? How could Spicer pay for that?” a Politico source said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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