Why are Republicans letting Trump's son-in-law, and one of his closest advisers, off the hook?
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House aide, is “spooked” about testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the committee.
Republicans seem ready to give Kushner a pass, despite a pile of concerns and red flags about his actions and behavior.
The committee is probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its ties to the Trump campaign, where Kushner was involved at a senior level.
Kushner had agreed to testify to the committee, but after transcripts of interviews with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson were released, he changed his mind.
“It looks like our chances of getting a voluntary interview with Mr. Kushner has been shot,” Grassley said.
The tepid response to a key figure backing out of previously planned testimony is part of a pattern of Republicans covering for Trump and his underlings. Rather than representing the will of a majority of Americans who want to get to the bottom of the scandal, Republicans and their allies at outlets like Fox News are playing a game of interference on Trump’s behalf.
The reaction is especially glaring considering Kushner’s actions.
Thanks to his repeated Russian contacts, Kushner has been cited as someone who the FBI investigation has been focusing on. But that doesn’t seem to bother Republicans.
Kushner was one of the principals, along with Donald Trump Jr. and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who took a meeting at Trump Tower with Russians peddling campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton.
He was also a key decision maker who worked to implement the Trump campaign’s digital strategy, which has also come under investigation. The campaign’s digital director, Brad Parscale, recently confirmed that Kushner and Eric Trump were “were joint deputy campaign managers” and that “not one person made a decision without their approval.”
His actions since complicate matters further. While Trump has put his son-in-law in charge of major issues, like the Middle East peace process, Kushner has repeatedly been caught failing to include all of his assets on federal disclosure forms. The behavior has led several Democrats to call for his security status to be revoked.
Kushner is central to the Russia story and the related actions of the Trump campaign and administration. That he is backing out of congressional testimony should push Republicans to be even more interested in what he might have to say under oath.
Instead, they are backing off and letting Kushner and Trump off the hook.