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Posted September 12, 2017, 9:20 am CDT
Some White House lawyers wanted Jared Kushner to resign from his role as a senior adviser because of potential legal complications in the probe of Russian influence, according to two published reports based partly on anonymous sources.
The White House lawyers reportedly discussed the possibility earlier this summer, before revelations that Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had attended a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York City, where Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) broke the news, followed by a story in the Washington Post.
Kushner has revealed four contacts with Russian officials, including the Trump Tower meeting, two meetings with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and a meeting with a Russian bank representative.
Lawyers who discussed Kushner’s ouster were reportedly concerned that if the president’s son-in-law even casually mentioned the Russia probe to others in the White House, those who heard his remarks could be questioned by the special counsel’s team, according to the Wall Street Journal. The lawyers were also concerned Kushner could discuss the probe with Trump without a lawyer present.
A source who spoke with the Washington Post said the lawyers “would have been dummies” if they didn’t consider separating the president from Kushner.
The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post relied on anonymous sources for their reporting on the legal discussions, but current White House lawyers confirmed the internal debate.
John Dowd, a lawyer for President Trump, told the Wall Street Journal that he disagreed with lawyers who thought Kushner should leave. He also said he had no knowledge that the proposed resignation was discussed with Trump; the Post said lawyers discussed their concerns with Trump in June, but the president believed Kushner didn’t need to leave because he had done nothing wrong.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb said in a statement that the internal debate was disclosed by people who wanted to sabotage Kushner, and “clandestine efforts to undermine him never gained traction.”
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