One day after House Democrats sent formal document requests to more than eighty Trump-related people and entities, they’re now upping the ante. House Democrats just made a formal criminal referral against Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Even as that process plays out, the Democrats have already succeeded in pushing the media to focus heavily today on Kushner’s status as an alleged criminal.
To be clear, a criminal referral is not a criminal indictment. Jared Kushner will not be magically arrested tomorrow as a result of this referral. Nothing moves that quickly. That said, we’ve already seen in this investigation that congressional criminal referrals do result in indictments when the referrals are valid in nature. For instance the Senate Intelligence Committee made such a referral against Republican operative Samuel Patten, and he ended up a convicted felon for it. So this could result in Kushner’s arrest, just not his immediate arrest.
By rule, the Department of Justice will examine the criminal referral and make a decision about whether a criminal investigation and criminal charges are warranted. Congressman Ted Lieu, one of the people who made the referral, reminded everyone this morning that “Making false statements or omitting material info on SF-86 security form is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.” So yeah, the DOJ will surely conclude that Kushner committed a felony and move forward accordingly, unless Trump tries to sabotage it.
That may be the whole point, of course. If Donald Trump wants to meddle in this very public criminal investigation into Jared Kushner over his SF-86, he’ll have to do it in plain sight. That’ll give House Democrats a more compelling case in convincing the American people that Trump is indeed a criminal. Meanwhile, Robert Mueller, the SDNY, and the EDNY are all believed to be building far larger and broader criminal cases against Kushner. House Democrats are merely taking the most straightforward of Kushner’s alleged crimes and pushing it into the public arena.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report