Following The New Yorker's report that President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner met with the Russian Ambassador in December, The White House has confirmed the senior administration adviser (along with Mike Flynn) had a previously undisclosed meeting to “establish a line of communications.”
It appears the drip-drip-drip of the “Russians are to blame for everything” meme just won't stop. This one, from The New Yorker and The New York Times is long on innuendo and prognostication and, thanks to The White House's statement, short on substance.
The New Yorker reported this week that Mr. Kushner had met with Mr. Kislyak at Trump Tower in December.
The Washington Post reports that Michael T. Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador in December to “establish a line of communication” between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said on Thursday. Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior adviser, also participated in the meeting at Trump Tower with Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. But among Mr. Trump’s inner circle, it is Mr. Flynn who appears to have been the main interlocutor with the Russian envoy — the two were in contact during the campaign and the transition, Mr. Kislyak and current and former American officials have said.
And then WaPo shifts from reporting to pure speculation…
But the extent and frequency of their contacts remains unclear, and the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower adds to the emerging picture of how the relationship between Mr. Trump’s incoming team and Moscow was evolving to include some of the president-elect’s most trusted advisers.
It is common and not improper for transition officials to meet with foreign officials. But all meetings between Trump associates and Russians are now significant as the F.B.I. investigates Russian interference in the American election and whether anyone close to Mr. Trump’s campaign was involved.
Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, confirmed on Thursday that Mr. Flynn was also at the meeting in response to questions from a New York Times reporter.
“They generally discussed the relationship and it made sense to establish a line of communication,” Ms. Hicks said.
“Jared has had meetings with many other foreign countries and representatives — as many as two dozen other foreign countries’ leaders and representatives.”
The Trump Tower meeting lasted 20 minutes, and Mr. Kushner has not met since with Mr. Kislyak, Ms. Hicks said.
Current and former American officials have said that Mr. Flynn had contacts with Mr. Kislyak during the campaign. But few of the specifics of those contacts were known. The Russian ambassador has acknowledged that the two men had known each other since 2013 and were in contact during the campaign. “It’s something all diplomats do,” Mr. Kislyak was quoted as saying by The Washington Post, though he refused to say what subjects he discussed with Mr. Flynn.
Finally we note that it seems the public's interest in Russia-related narratives is fading. The responses are quicker and the insinuations becoming more desperate, but the American public – we suspect – would prefer the Democrats (and their media muppets) focus on policy rather than disruption.