Now that everyone on the inside and the outside of the Trump-Russia scandal knows Michael Flynn is negotiating a deal, all eyes are on the players in the scandal to see how they try to position themselves next. One of the most telling methods of observing this positioning is to watch what gets planted in the media. This evening two of the nation’s most influential newspapers have published strangely similar stories about Jared Kushner’s shrinking role – which tells us at lot.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen by coincidence. The same source has to be behind tonight’s Washington Post article titled “The shrinking profile of Jared Kushner” and tonight’s New York Times article titled “Jared Kushner’s Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink.” Moreover, if you read the articles and examine what kind of inside information they have, it appears both stories were planted by Jared Kushner’s own camp. Translation: he wants someone, perhaps the public in general, perhaps Robert Mueller in particular, to believe that his own role in Donald Trump’s White House is shrinking. But why?
Your guess is as good as anyone else’s. Numerous political pundits have voiced the view this week that Michael Flynn’s testimony will end up being the most harmful to Jared Kushner, because Flynn is close enough to the Russian government to know why Kushner kept secretly meeting with the Russians. In response, Kushner isn’t merely shrinking from public view, in the hope everyone will forget about him. Instead he appears to be making a point of getting the media to write stories about how his White House role has become meaningless anyway.
So what’s the play here? When the week began, Jared Kushner was leaking to the media that Donald Trump keeps telling him and Ivanka to move back home to New York. Now Kushner apparently wants us all to believe that his relevant time in Washington DC has come to an end. Is he laying the groundwork for resigning and going home? Is he trying to send some other message? Who’s he trying to send it to? Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report