June 1, 2017 by Paul Sperry
Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner privately met with dozens of officials from a wide range of nations as part of his role during the campaign and transition as conduit to foreign governments. But the liberal media, led by The Washington Post, have zeroed in on only one of those countries: Russia.
Why? Because the “Russia stole the election” narrative helps them explain how a political novice like President Trump could beat the seasoned Democratic candidate they’d anointed to carry President Barack Obama’s torch, Hillary Clinton.
In fact, the WaPo knew Kushner served as the official “primary point of contact” with the Russians and other foreign ambassadors as early as Feb. 10, when it published a fairly flattering story about him serving as “a shadow diplomat” in talks with “more than two dozen countries.”
The February story noted that Kushner had secretly met with foreign officials in New York and even established “back-channel communications” with other nations. But back then it portrayed the off-the-grid talks as healthy, because Kushner was “a moderating influence” among what it viewed as foreign-policy “extremists” in the new White House.
“Some of the leaders who have dealt with Kushner said they were initially skeptical but found him to be a good listener and courteous intermediary who quickly intuits the core of their issues,” the paper reported.
But then, as the manufactured “Russiagate” conspiracy was fizzling, the WaPo published its sensational May 26 story that made it seem as if there was something nefarious about what the paper three months earlier had known Kushner was doing. This time, his private, back-channel meetings with Russia were cast in a dark and sinister light.
The new story, “Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin,” got wall-to-wall coverage on CNN and NBC, but in fact there was no there there.
Indeed, the White House had already explained publicly in March that Kushner’s supposedly “secret” meeting the previous December with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was meant “to explore whether a channel could be set up between the Russian government and the incoming administration to improve relations” and “cooperate on issues in the Middle East, an area Mr. Kushner has been deputized to take the lead on.”
Fox News, moreover, revealed it was the Russian ambassador who suggested establishing a secret back channel, not Kushner. And the idea of a permanent back channel was never discussed, only a one-off for a call about Syria and ISIS. No secret line was ever established.
The Washington Post also based its story last week on an anonymous letter. That’s right: It has no idea who wrote it.
The mystery author claimed access to intercepts of an “open line” call from Kislyak to Moscow, in which the ambassador talked about the alleged arrangement with Kushner. Even if true, it means Russia may have been trying to feed disinformation — which the paper greedily bit on.
In other words, the WaPo relied on a walk-in letter from a person it can’t identify, who relied on an alleged account by Russia’s top diplomat about what was discussed with Kushner. No wonder the paper hedged its “scoop” by repeatedly using the term “apparent” throughout the story.
Former Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, no fan of Trump, says the WaPo’s outlandish charge that Kushner requested using Russian gear to set up a secret line with Moscow is bogus: “I don’t trust this story as far as I can throw it.”
As for their meeting, there’s nothing scandalous or extraordinary about top advisers of a newly elected president reaching out to Russia or any other country. It’s common. It’s called diplomacy.
People associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign also met with Kislyak. And recall how Obama, as an incumbent candidate in 2012, back-channeled to Vladimir Putin (through then-outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev) that he’d have “more flexibility” to accommodate him on missile defense. Funny how the media elite were cool about those Russian contacts, never suggesting “treason.”
The discredited Kushner-Russia story was a last-ditch effort to keep alive the narrative that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with Moscow. But it bombed. If anything, it showed they didn’t have substantial contacts during the election.
After all, If Kushner and Russia were arranging a “back-channel communication” in December, it means the Trump camp didn’t have one with Russia during the campaign. The WaPo’s “scoop” inadvertently blew up the media’s whole “collusion” theory.
Sperry is author of “The Great American Bank Robbery.”