The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing an anonymous source, that President Donald Trump’s legal team has turned against his son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner.
“The president’s lawyers view Mr. Kushner as an obstacle and a freelancer more concerned about protecting himself than his father-in-law,” the Times claims, relying on a “person familiar with [the president’s personal attorney] Mr. [Marc] Kasowitz’s thinking.”
According to the same source, Trump’s lawyer’s “have complained that Mr. Kushner has been whispering in the president’s ear about the Russia investigations and stories while keeping the lawyers out of the loop” and that they “told colleagues that they cannot keep operating that way, raising the prospect that Mr. Kasowitz may resign.”
Kushner finds himself again in the media’s sights after the voluntary release of an email chain between the president’s son Donald Trump, Jr. and obscure publicist Rob Goldstone in which Trump Jr. appeared receptive to damning information about his father’s presidential campaign rival Hillary Clinton from someone holding the non-existent office of “Crown prosecutor of Russia.” Kushner was copied on the emails and is reported by the Times to have attended a meeting, along with Trump Jr. and then-Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Both Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr. maintain no actual opposition research on Mrs. Clinton was transferred at the meeting. No allegation has been made, by the Times or any other mainstream media outlet, of any such information being discussed. Kushner, who unlike Trump Jr. is now employed at the White House, however, disclosed neither the emails nor the meetings on his security clearance application forms. According to the Times, those forms were updated after the president’s legal team discovered the emails.
Kushner, husband of First Daughter and fellow presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, has been entrusted with overseeing a wide variety of projects within the White House and has come under fire from both the political right and left since his entry into the administration.
Although they are now reported to have made amends, the early months of the administration were plagued with leaks purporting clashes between nationalist-populist White House Chief Strategist and former Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon and more globalist voices including Kushner. Separately, Kushner has been the subject of series of embarrassing scandals involving he and his family’s business dealings, including a business presentation by his sister seemingly promising EB-5 visas to Chinese investors.
Suspicions from the right were reignited when Kushner and his wife Ivanka were spotted rubbing shoulders with the likes of George Soros at a large Independence Day gathering in the Hamptons.
The left and the mainstream media, meanwhile, have framed Kushner as another sinister boogieman in the Trump White House who holds an outsized influence over the president, launching attack after attack since he took up his post.
The New York Times report of the Trump legal team’s views comes as the rest of the press has clung to the email revelations as having breathed new life into the “Russia scandal.” The Times article itself gloats that, “The Russia story has become the brier patch from which the president seemingly cannot escape.”
Some commentators have called for Kushner to lose his security clearance over the matter, which would make it virtually impossible for him to continue in his current role.