With the news that Jared Kushner is a person of interest in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal (link), things have suddenly taken a more serious turn. This means current top White House adviser, and a member of Trump’s family, is being targeted in the probe. But it also means Kushner’s legal problems have gotten far worse than whatever he’s suspected of having done.
Last week, after Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, word surfaced that Jared Kushner had been key in pushing Trump to pull the trigger (link). At the time it merely seemed like bad advice from Kushner, perhaps intentionally bad advice, which was destined to backfire on Trump. And sure enough, it has. But now that moment is placed in new context in light of Kushner being a person of interest in the investigation himself.
It’s not known whether or not Kushner knew he was a person of interest in the investigation at the time he urged Trump to fire Comey. But if Kushner did commit illegal acts during the course of the Russia scandal, then it can be strongly argued that he knew the investigation would focus on him eventually, and that his push to get Comey fired constituted obstruction of justice on his part. And in fact it’s already been documented that Kushner lied about his secret transition-period meetings with the Russians when he filled out his White House clearance forms.
So at the least, Kushner committed that ancillary crime; it says right on the form in question that there are legal penalties for lying on it. And if Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to make the case that Kushner helped get Comey fired to try to prevent himself from being prosecuted over those forms, then he’d have a strong argument. Mueller may be able to make an obstruction of justice case against Kushner without even having to prove that Kushner was conducting illegal business with the Russians when he met with him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report