Politics

Kushner Under Fire For Omitting Meetings With Russians

| by Ray Brown

Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, omitted a meeting he had with the Russian ambassador and the head of a Russian bank in his application to obtain top-secret security clearance.

In December, Kushner met with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak and Sergey N. Gorkov, the CEO of Vnesheconombank, a Russian state-owned bank, according to The New York Times.

Kushner had previously admitted to participating in the meetings, which had already been reported by The New York Times in March and led to calls for Kushner to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But the new revelation is that Kushner did not put these meetings on his application for a top-secret security clearance pass.

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Kushner's lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, insisted that the omission was a simple error. And after Kushner learned of the mistake back on Jan. 18, he submitted the following statement to the FBI: "During the presidential campaign and transition period, I served as a point-of-contact for foreign officials trying to reach the president-elect. I had numerous contacts with foreign officials in this capacity. … I would be happy to provide additional information about these contacts."

The New York Times reported that no names, including those of the Russian officials, were mentioned in the statement.

Nonetheless, such an omission can have serious consequences. The form that top-secret security clearance applicants fill out warns that "withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information" could result in job loss and possible prosecution.

It is also a felony to knowingly falsify or conceal "material facts," with a punishment of up to five years in prison.

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The error comes at a time when Democrats have persistently pushed the narrative that Russia is to blame for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's loss in the 2016 presidential election.

Ties to Russia among people throughout Trump's inner circle have aroused suspicion, particularly among partisan Democratic supporters but some Republicans, as well.

But for Kushner, the timing is especially problematic because of rumors of infighting within the Trump administration between him and Chief of Staff Steve Bannon.

According to The Daily Beast, Kushner and Bannon have been feuding "nonstop."

"[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a 'globalist' and a 'cuck' … He actually said 'cuck,' as in 'cuckservative,'" an anonymous source told The Daily Beast, referring to the slur used by right-wing affiliated people to describe Republicans who aren't typically as far to the right as them.

"There’s a big fight [going on]," another anonymous source told The Daily Beast. "It’s all about policy. There’s tension [between them] on trade, health care, immigration, taxes, [terrorism] -- you name it."

Sources: The New York Times (2), The Daily Beast / Photo credit: Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff/Flickr

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