Jared Kushner has been busted for regularly using private email in his role as a senior adviser in Donald Trump’s White House. This sets a new bar for irony, after Trump (and the media) spent the campaign flat out lying about a “Hillary Clinton private email scandal” that turned out not to have been a scandal at all. It also sets a new bar for hypocrisy. But more importantly, it may have just set a new bar for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
We’ll soon find out whether Kushner indeed broke the law with his use of private email while on the job. Politico was the first to break the general parameters of the story (link), but as these things tend to go, far more details will leak out in the coming days. If it turns out Kushner did something illegal in the process, Mueller’s job of getting to Trump just became a whole lot easier.
Mueller’s difficulty in flipping Kushner is that he’s not going to be able to convince the guy to take his own father-in-law down unless he’s doing it to avoid prison. Kushner definitely committed felonies when he filled out his security clearance forms, but he may be (correctly or incorrectly) banking on an “I forgot” defense to get him off the hook. Kushner probably committed some variation of treason with his Russia meetings, but that requires overwhelming proof of intent. On the other hand, the email thing is an entirely different beast.
Jared Kushner just finished participating in an election in which Donald Trump routinely insisted that Hillary Clinton broke the law by using private email. That was a lie, and Hillary was fully exonerated in that imaginary scandal. But it’s enough to demonstrate that Kushner would have been well versed in laws about private email usage by the time the election was over. He therefore has no deniability when it comes to any crimes he went on to commit with his use of private email, and he knows it. Mueller may have just been handed an opportunity to flip Kushner, which in turn would accelerate his takedown of Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report