In search of Jared's motives: Why did Jared Kushner propose that secret secure and private Russkie back channel? Assuming he actually did.
Like you, we'd like to know. Then too, there's also this:
This morning, at TPM, we saw Josh's latest post. It carried an allegedly eye-popping headline, which we include below. Along the way, the founder confessed to being declarative:
MARSHALL (5/31/17): Sorry. On Kushner, There’s No Innocent ExplanationThe sleuth was on the case. That said, Michael Flynn seems to be crazy, and Kushner may be a complete and total incompetent. (Or not.) We're also inclined to assume that he's a giant grifter.
The title of this post is, I confess, rather dramatic and declarative. I’ve written elsewhere about possible ‘innocent explanations’ of the Trump/Russia story, particularly Donald Trump’s role in it. I will leave that all-encompassing question aside for the moment. Here I’m talking about Jared Kushner’s attempt to set up a secure line of communication to Moscow, as well as meeting with the head of that government-backed Russian bank.
The idea that Kushner and Flynn would use Russian secure communications facilities to set up a secure channel to Moscow is so inexplicable and beyond the pale that it almost beggars the imagination. Critically, this key part of the story has not been disputed by the White House. The only possible explanation of this effort is that Flynn and Kushner (perhaps others, but at least them) wanted to discuss topics that would not only be hidden from Obama administration political appointees but from everyone in the US government–people who would continue to make up the government long after the Obama team was gone.
There’s simply no innocent explanation for that...
That said, it's hard to mind-read the motives of the clueless and the crazy. "Flynn and Kushner among the Russkies" could be novelized, in at least one form, as a spy caper conducted by a less sympathetic version of Laurel and Hardy.
Between the craziness, the sheer incompetence, the senility and the grifting, almost anything could be true about the latest caper we've been fed by the unnamed persons behind the screen. (Like Dickens before them, they dribble it out in installments.) This includes the possibility that Donald J. Trump is owned by the Russians and is selling the western alliance away.
Although then again maybe not.
On "cable news," the entertainers are pleasuring us each night, speculating about motive for hours as they seek stronger Q ratings. Marshall included, the people you see performing this way are the people who have failed you over the past thirty years. (There's still some grifting in this world which isn't performed by the Trumps.)
As these cable-and-pundit entertainments continue, might we note two random passages from a recent New York Times report?
Yesterday morning, it was the featured front-page report in the hard-copy Times.
As usual, Kushner's motives were being guessed at. But right there in paragraph 6, three Times reporters also offered the highlighted point about one of his secretish meetings:
ROSENBERG, MAZZETTI AND HABERMAN (5/30/17): The meeting came as Mr. Trump was openly feuding with American intelligence agencies and their conclusion that Russia had tried to disrupt the presidential election and turn it in his favor.More than two months ago, the Senate committee said it planned to question Kushner about the point now being subjected to round-the-clock speculation! Ten paragraphs later, the same reporters recorded this additional fact:
The Senate Intelligence Committee notified the White House in March that it planned to question Mr. Kushner about the meeting.
ROSENBERG, MAZZETTI AND HABERMAN: In a statement on Monday, [White House spokeswoman Hope] Hicks said that “Mr. Kushner was acting in his capacity as a transition official” in meeting with the Russians. Mr. Kushner has agreed to be interviewed by congressional investigators about the meetings, she said.Kushner has said he's willing "to be interviewed" about the meeting in question!
Kushner has said he's ready to spill. The committee said they planned to interview him more than two months back. This leaves us asking ourselves this question:
When is this freaking committee going to interview Kushner? You can watch cable chatter for many hours without seeing this question asked.
If Kushner testifies about these matters, the state of play will rapidly advance. We see no one inquiring about the possible timeline for this. Instead, speculation is all. It kills oodles of time each night.
In fairness, this fandango makes a good mystery tale. It also makes for lousy journalism. By the way—has Mr. Kushner "agreed to be interviewed" in public? Amidst all the speculation, the Times neglected to say.
As we watch this endless waste of time, our thoughts keep returning to the Republican National Convention. More specifically, we recall the way the three cable news channels lionized those great Trump kids during those long, pointless hours.
We think we recall the way Brian and Rachel gushed about the greatness of Donald Trump Junior, who surely should run for governor. If we're remembering correctly, they were reciting the same talking points which were being churned on CNN and Fox. The stars were doing what they were told. Careers hung in the balance!
(We're forced to rely on memory here for a rather typical reason. For unknown reasons, MSNBC failed to produce transcripts of its convention coverage, nor have we been able to find videotape of the channel's programs on those nights. For these reasons, we haven't been able to go back and review what the various cable stars said. Unless our memory is deceiving us, we were struck, in real time, by the way all three cables were churning the same completely ridiculous points about those fantastic Trump kids.)
In fact, it seems to us that the Trumps are a world-class collection of grifters. Beyond that, the patriarch seems to be disturbed and somewhat senile. His son-in-law has virtually never uttered a word in public.
It takes no insight and no skill to assume the worst about their motives and conduct. Then too, endless blather in such directions isn't "journalism." It represents a tribal entertainment function.
On cable, the speculation grinds on and on, then on and on some more. This seems to yield highly profitable cable product. It's also the kind of low-IQ work which, spread over thirty years, paved the way for the craziness of Trump. "I have nothing against him," Rachel said, after he had spent four years parading as birther king.
Cable runs on speculation and spin, not on information. We'd love to see these questions reported:
When will Kushner testify? What's holding this gong-show up?