John McLaughlan, former acting CIA Director under George W. Bush, reacted with disbelief to the news that Jared Kushner allegedly requested to use Russian diplomatic facilities to allow for a secret line of communication between the Trump administration and Russia. According to reports from intercepted communications, Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., told his superiors that Kushner approached him with the plan to build communications between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin. Due to these reports, Kushner is under FBI scrutiny in the ever-expanding Trump/Russia investigation.
On The Last Word, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell asked the incredulous McLaughlan how he would react to intercepting this type of communication. McLaughlan measured his words:
“It would be kind of disbelief because it’s not the sort of thing you would expect to happen in a normal transition. I see all of this through the eyes of an intelligence officer, of course. And it is simultaneously familiar and bizarre. Familiar in the sense that I know secret channels, used them all my life. Bizarre in the sense that it’s a proposed secret channel through the government that is probably the most active government in the world in carrying out espionage against the United States. And, recall the timing here too.”
The rather grim McLaughlan — who points out that Kushner’s alleged actions happened during the election process and the transition — seems stunned that he’s saying these words, takes the time to articulate that this is very early in the investigation. His concern is obvious, and he seems completely baffled, especially when considering the unknown context of the conversation. He also emphasizes that if Kushner had undertaken these actions as a U.S. intelligence officer, “we’d consider it espionage.” Now the question is … why did Kushner do this, and what comes next?
(Via The Hill)