Saturday, May 27, 2017

Through the Looking Glass:Jared Kushner, the Russians and the Leaks

Welcome to Trump World.

According to the Washington Post:
Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.


Mainstream media is giving this report major play as though a United States president has never used a back-channel before, which of course is absurd. Donna Brazile, who leaked debate questions to Hillary Clinton, got in on the act and tweeted #ProtectOurDemocracy.

Multiple presidents had back-channel discussions with
Cuban officials.

Henry Kissinger established a back-channel with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. In Nixon's Back Channel to Moscow: Confidential Diplomacy and D├ętente , we learn "Kissinger praised back channels for preventing leaks, streamlining communications, and circumventing what he perceived to be the US State Department's unresponsive and self-interested bureaucracy."

There was also a Beijing-Washington back-channel where Henry Kissinger made a secret trip to China.

Bill Clinton had a back-channel to Chinese General Secretary Jiang Zemin through Dianne Feinstein.

Reagan's arms-for-hostages swap was a back-channel deal run by the US Ambassador to Lebanon John Kelly.

I could go on and on.

As Daniel McAdams has tweeted:


Kushner's suggestion to use Russian facilities is creative but a bit over-the-top, But the general idea was sound, or at least it can be justified as such.

The New York Times now reports (my highlight):
 Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, spoke in December with Russia’s ambassador to the United States about establishing a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and Moscow to discuss strategy in Syria and other policy issues, according to three people with knowledge of the discussion.

And given the leaks coming out of Washington D.C. these days, it appears that Kushner had a very solid reason to try and establish communications outside of normal channels.

But who is doing the leaking? This, looked at from the perspective of the United States government, is a serious offense. WaPo tells us that their knowledge about the conversation comes about because of a leak of information on "intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials."

This is high-level leaking in the USG, apparently aimed at destabilizing the Trump Administration. There is no other explanation here. Michael Flynn was a goofball, a fact I identified as early as last summer. so who knows what he was trying to cook up with the Russians? But the idea there is major league collusion between the Trump administration and the Russians appears to be a big stretch. Though the Kushner meeting with the Russian banker Sergey Gorkov is curious. It, at most, is some kind of mid-level cronyism, one notch below the activities of  Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta and his brother. Cronyism that goes on all the time but is never leaked or reported on.

But this wasn't the only leak this past week. Nor the most bizarre.

CNN reported that
Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email was fake -- created by Russian intelligence -- but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process.
As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over -- without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch -- while at the same time stating that Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information. 
Got that? Driven by a piece of information that he knew was fake, Comey ended the investigation into Hillary's emails because if the fake document had become public it would tarnish the FBI (somehow) and so he closed the investigation without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Is this how you get the FBI to stop investigating you? Print up a fake document and the FBI will drop its investigation out of fear of being embarrassed? Say what?

As David Stockman put it:
The CNN story that Comey shutdown Hillary probe due to Russian disinformation is rank lunacy. Get a grip, ladies!
It must be remembered that this entire theme that the Russians attempted to interfere with the US 2016 presidential election was launched by Hillary campaign manager Podesta to distract from his emails that had been leaked. He wasn't concerned about Russian collusion. He hid, in his daughter's name, deals he, himself, was doing with the Russians . It was just a misdirection move by him that has taken on a life of its own.

When Podesta and Hillary botched the election, mainstream media doubled down on the Russian collusion claim. For MSM, it is about the fact that the uncouth Infowars' candidate beat out their candidate, Yes, a few hours a day online broadcaster operating out of Austin, Texas beat out the best and the brightest mainstream media operating out of Washington DC and New York City. That is why MSM hates Trump.

Yes, a guy who attended Austin Community College. was the youtube jockey who rode the winning presidential candidate--straight into the White House press room! This is just driving the Ivy League East Coast media crazy.

By taking the most anti-Trump stance on anything Trump does, MSM is trying desperately to use unreality to pull reality in their direction.

From a policy standpoint, I have a lot of problems with Trump's positions. But MSM isn't, for the most part, fighting him on policy. That's because his policy positions aren't that much different from theirs.

I suspect that if they knew how to present policy positions that were against Trump positions, they would use them. But there is no way they would have learned such different policy positions in the Deep State captured establishment schools they attended. And so they continue to sling water and pretend it is mud.

Meanwhile, those stuck looking at Trump World through the establishment press are really not sure what they are seeing. Deep and critical thinking is not a characteristic of the masses and so, for the most part, they probably hold some kind of view that Trump is going to cut some kind of deal with Putin.

It is never clear in their minds what this deal is. They don't really think Trump is going to sell Putin Detroit. They don't really think Trump is going to cut Putin in on withholding tax income. They don't even think that Trump has secretly agreed to put Putin on US social security. But somehow, in these not very deep minds, coaxed on by MSM, they think Trump and Putin are up to something.  And that therefore Trump must be impeached!

Of course, a skilled communicator could counter the modern day MSM  jabberwocky but there is no indication that Trump has anyone around him that is capable of doing so.

And so he is stuck with the sense that he must:
Beware the Jabberwock...
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!
or they will get him.

  -RW

2 comments:

  1. 1. Keep in mind my belief that what a libertarian says about Trump counts for almost nothing.

    2. If Walter Block was wrong about Trump, that was no cosmic calamity in the scheme of things.

    3. This totally insane reaction of the MSM and the Democrats (Hollywood, academia) to Trump is very educational about their stupidity, insanity and just plain evil nature. Most of the leftists who are up to speed on U.S. foreign policy all see it. Even “Lord Keynes” and the Mike Norman MMT crazies see it.

    4. This Russia Russia Russia schtick is the most pathetic and idiotic false flag theme ever. Are they just trying to show how stupid the American people really are? Maybe it really is a brilliant move since it appears to be working.

    5. If Trump were brave, smart or articulate, he could be rid of this Russia Russia Russia thing in an afternoon. Since he's not, he's shown his cowardice by caving into the "Let's hassle Russia into war" meme.

    6. The reaction of the MSM and the Democrats to Trump is exactly how they react to Austrians and libertarians. They do not and cannot engage our ideas. Going forward, always expect that reaction. Learn from it.

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  2. The examples you gave were of Presidents using a back channel. In this case Trump wasn't President yet, and his vetting process for his advisors has proven to be shoddy. Trump has been using the MSM as a foil since the fall. He's given them reason to go at him.

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