President Trump’s lawyers reportedly are looking to “wall off” son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner from discussing the Russia controversy with the president — as the media’s focus turns to Kushner’s role in the media-pushed “scandal.”
Axios reported Thursday that members of Trump’s legal team, which includes Trump’s longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz and conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow, do not want Kushner discussing the Russia probe with Trump in order to protect the president.
“The team contends that it isn’t out to get Kushner, but just wants to protect the president because his son-in-law is so wrapped up in the investigation,” the outlet reported. “He had three meetings with Russians that special counsel Bob Mueller is sure to investigate.”
Kushner was one of three Trump campaign officials, along with Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who met last June with Natalia Veselnitskaya — a Russian lawyer who advocates for changes in an American law connected to do with sanctions against Russian officials tied to human rights abuses.
Trump Jr. caused a firestorm in the media and on Capitol Hill when he released emails Tuesday showing that he accepted the meeting in the belief that he was going to be passed on “incriminating” information about Hillary Clinton purportedly as part of Russian efforts to help Trump win the election.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Kushner faces scrutiny as he not only works in the White House (unlike Trump Jr.) but also that he did not mention the meeting on forms he filled out for a background check to obtain a security clearance. Those emails were discovered in recent weeks by Kushner’s legal team, who then amended his clearance forms.
The Times also reports that Trump’s legal team has been “whispering in the president’s ear about the Russia investigations and stories while keeping the lawyers out of the loop.”
“The president’s lawyers view Mr. Kushner as an obstacle and a freelancer more concerned about protecting himself than his father-in-law,” the outlet reported, citing an anonymous source.
The “wall” suggested by the lawyers, would reportedly constitute an agreement by which Kushner does not discuss anything to do with the probe with Trump — a demand that Axios says could fuel tensions between Trump’s lawyers and Kushner’s.
Kushner will cooperate in the next few weeks with the Senate and House Intelligence Committee probes on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kushner’s colleagues told the Times that he remains “focused and upbeat” despite the negative headlines — something they put down to his experience dealing with his father Charles, who was convicted of tax evasion and witness tampering.