The Corner

Politics & Policy

Jared’s Turn in the Barrel

The Washington Post had a story last night on Jared wanting to establish a back channel with the Russians during the transition that adds detail–he talked to Kislyak about it and allegedly wanted to use Russia diplomatic facilities for the conversations–to what was already known. There’s nothing necessarily nefarious about a back channel–as the Post reports, the Trump transition was also secretive about its dealings with other government, including the U.A.E. This particular, very odd approach to the Russians may well have been simple amateurishness, but the pattern of Trump officials forgetting or minimizing contacts with the Russians, combined with the latest on the attempted back channel, is bound to stoke further suspicions. A couple of other thoughts:

–This can’t be good news for the JVanka faction in the White House. It makes Steve Bannon’s reported private warnings that Kushner’s Russia dealings would become a major distraction to the White House look prescient. It also makes it more interesting that Kushner, apparently against type, was reportedly strongly in favor of firing James Comey.

–It is the natural tendency of special-counsel probes to widen rather than narrow, which means it could be that Jared’s business dealings will eventually come under scrutiny as part of the new focus on him.

–Finally, a key to the administration’s scandal management will be keeping Trump under control. That was going to be difficult in any circumstance, but presumably gets harder with a family member in the spotlight.