Jared Kushner is facing enough legal trouble on the federal level that various pundits have mentioned his name as being among those who could be arrested in relation to Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. That in turn has led to the question of whether Trump would try to pardon his son-in-law Kushner, in order to keep Kushner from cutting a deal against him. However, if that is Donald’s plan, a big monkey wrench has just been thrown into it.
Let’s hypothetically say that Jared Kushner is arrested tomorrow – or in a later round of Trump Russia arrests – on federal charges related to his secret meetings with the Russians during the campaign and transition period, and his subsequent failure to disclose those meetings on his White House security clearance forms. Let’s further say that Kushner then decides not to cut a deal, on the premise that Trump will pardon him anyway. The trouble: Kushner is suddenly facing the possibility of state level charges as well.
The Attorney General of Maryland is now investigating Jared Kushner’s family business for a number of serious alleged violations in the real estate field (link). That doesn’t mean that Kushner or anyone in his family is guilty. Nor does it mean that charges will be brought. But these investigations tend to lead to charges more often than not. If Kushner is hypothetically charged with state level crimes, Donald Trump can’t pardon those.
This could result in a situation where even if Donald Trump pardons Jared Kushner on all Russia-related federal charges, Kushner could still be facing potential jail time in Maryland – and Trump wouldn’t be able to get him off the hook for that. In the interest of the greater good, Maryland could offer to let Kushner off the hook if he flips on Trump on the federal level. It’s unclear if Special Counsel Robert Mueller is involved in the Maryland probe into Kushner.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report