It’s still not known who told the New York Times about Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting, or why. But it is known that Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort each told the Feds about the meeting at least several weeks ago, in an attempt at keeping themselves from going to prison for their previous lies. Based on today’s new revelations about the meeting, however, both may be looking at prison sentences after all.
Until today, the story coming from everyone on the Donald Trump side and everyone on the Kremlin side is that Junior, Kushner, Manafort, the Russian government lawyer, and her translator were the only ones in the room. But today it’s being widely reported that Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counterintelligence and possibly still current Russian FSB agent, was also in the room (link). This means that everyone involved with the meeting has been lying to the media all week about who was and wasn’t in the room. Lying to the media isn’t a crime in and of itself. Buy lying to the Feds is another matter.
Kushner initially lied about all of his Russia meetings on his SF-86 security clearance form, which is an imprisonable felony. Once that fact was exposed earlier this summer, he went back and listed hundreds of foreign meetings, including the one he attended with Donald Trump Jr. and Russia. Manafort has been trying to get himself out from under his own failure to register as a paid foreign agent of the Kremlin, and has also confessed to Trump Jr.’s meeting. But if their “confessions” omitted the fact that a Russian spy like Akhmetshin was also in the meeting, then it means they blew their last shot at trying to avoid prison.
We don’t yet know precisely what Jared Kushner or Paul Manafort told the Feds about this meeting. But if they did lie about the meeting while confessing to it, there’s no way they’re walking away from this. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report