Iin his presentation to members of the Senate intelligence committee, the 36-year-old husband of Ivanka Trump might have dug himself deeper into a hole by leaning so heavily on personal ignorance as the core of his defense. By doing so he raised a slew of new questions about how the US president could have entrusted someone with such little foreign policy ballast with a powerful international portfolio.
In an 11-page statement released before his closed-door Senate appearance, Kushner essentially argued that he could not have been involved in underhand relations with the Russian government because he was so poorly versed in Russian affairs.
…“I had no idea why that topic was being raised,” he said, apparently unaware that the adoption ban is extensively used by Russian emissaries as a euphemism for US sanctions imposed on Russia. The subject of sanctions is central to modern diplomatic relations between the two countries.
…Substantially more serious than Kushner’s apparent lack of understanding on sanctions was the similar naivety – if his statement is taken at face value – that he showed in his dealings with Kislyak and a prominent Russian banker. When the ambassador told him that senior Russian generals wanted to talk to Kushner to discuss policy on Syria, Trump’s son-in-law inquired about using an “existing communications channel” at the Russian embassy.
The suggestion was made during the transition period when Trump and all members of his inner circle were still ordinary citizens outside government. Kushner appears to have been unaware that setting up such a private line of contact with senior Russian military leaders could have violated the Logan Act that prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers.