The Washington Post has just reported that intercepted communications between President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reveal that Kushner was attempting to set up a secret and secure back-channel communication link between Trump’s transition team and the Russian government.
We now know that Trump Tower meetings in early December attended by Jared Kushner, now-disgraced ex-National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak that both Flynn and Kushner failed to disclose on their security clearance forms were for arranging this secret back-channel.
Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that Kushner wanted to use Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for this purpose, a proposal that was quickly rejected by Kisylak because it would compromise Russian intelligence-gathering efforts.
The proposal shows a shocking lack of understanding on Kushner’s part as to how intelligence gathering works; the US intelligence community closely monitors the communications of Russian diplomats – which is how they discovered this bombshell in the first place.
This is not the first time the Trump team has been exposed trying to set up a backchannel to the Kremlin. Former Blackwater CEO and brother to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince, was dispatched to a secret meeting with the Russians in the Seychelles arranged by the United Arab Emirates in January for the purpose of setting up a secure communication link between Trump and Moscow.
It goes without saying that this is devastating news for the Trump Administration, who must now try to explain why they wanted a secret channel to Moscow so badly if they weren’t involved in colluding with the Russians to swing the November 2016 election in favor of Trump.
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller should be very interested in what Kushner and Flynn have to say about this.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.