We’ve all heard about this week’s epic House Intelligence Committee hearing of Admiral Mike Rogers and James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence and FBI Director, respectively. We’ve reported both the limited damage the two government witnesses were able to do to Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner and the real damage that Chairman Devin Nunes appears intent on doing.
But that’s not all there was to take in from that closed session – there was more. First and foremost was what was left unsaid.
From the coverage I’ve seen, the first hearing of the week as reported on The View, The Situation Room and elsewhere, it was reported that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ team gave its alleged evidence to the White House for review and be made public. Since The Washington Post reported that there was “no smoking gun” at last week’s hearing, and that nothing at all was said that would incriminate Kushner and so many others by name, the takeaway from this week was the failure of the House Intelligence Committee to produce anything more than a list of key Russian operatives with whom Kushner might have spoken.
But back to the facts. The reason President Trump singled out Jared Kushner for special treatment with this allegation is simple. Jared Kushner runs Trump’s transition team; as such, his role with the Trump campaign allowed him to have a great deal of up-close and personal interaction with Russian representatives, and the person who has unapologetically and repeatedly said that he had nothing to do with the Russian attack on our democracy.
So what did we learn from Thursday’s testimony? We learned that Russian representatives reached out to everyone on the Trump campaign: Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, the latter by his own admission, as well as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. We learned that Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, exchanged emails with POTUS, as did Rogers and Clapper. We learned that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe did not see the evidence of Russian interference, the President’s contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and others.
So, whether this is a matter of possible abuse of power or something worse, Donald Trump will know it.