‘In the campaign, we didn’t know that Russia was doing what they were doing…’
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, said Tuesday that Robert Mueller‘s probe into Russian election interference was worse than anything done by Moscow, which he dismissed as “a couple of Facebook ads.”
In a rare public speaking appearance, Kushner dismissed Russia’s impact during the 2016 election, saying that credit for the victory lay with the Trump campaign.
“You look at what Russia did—you know, buying some Facebook ads to try and sow dissent and do it. It’s a terrible thing,” Kushner told a forum in New York of Time magazine.
“But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads,” he said.
Some tech experts have previously questioned the reaction to the hacking, noting that Russia spent very little money on its misinformation campaign in the U.S. election and that it is not uncommon for social-media influencers to achieve the impact it had, even without an orchestrated campaign.
Mueller’s nearly 450-page report—released to the public last week after plaguing Trump since the start of his presidency—confirmed that Russian operatives tried to help Trump defeat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, including by hacking into email accounts.
However, some have contended that the Russian operations were more generally an effort to pit the two political sides against each other.
Similar to the hacks Russians made on Clinton staffer John Podesta and on the Democratic National Committee, Kremlin agents also attempted unsuccessfully to breach the Republican National Committee server.
The leaks from the Democrats, after being published on the site Wikileaks caused considerable embarrassment on the Left amid revelations of dirty dealings
They showed several high-profile media outlets to be colluding with the Clinton campaign in unethical and inappropriate ways.
The worst revelation, however, was that the DNC worked with Clinton to freeze out primary challenger Bernie Sanders—which prompted the resignation of then DNC chair Debbie Wasserman–Schultz right before the party’s national convention.
Although Trump was the primary benefactor of the Clinton scandals, his campaign did not deliberately reach out to collude with the Russians.
However, after the election loss, Clinton surrogates Podesta and Robbie Mook actively devised the Russian narrative and fed it to the media in order to scapegoat Clinton’s failure and undermine the president–elect.
Several Democrats, notably presidential hopeful Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have called for Trump to be impeached despite the findings of the investigation for allegedly welcoming a hostile power’s help.
Leftist radicals also have attempted to pin a charge of obstructing the investigation after the election due to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey while he was investigating the specious collusion charges.
Comey, who used the false information fed to the FBI by the Clinton campaign in the Steele Dossier to justify warrants to spy on Trump staffers, later admitted leaking classified information to the press in order to trigger the special counsel probe.
Several Republican officials, including Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham and Attorney General William Barr have said they may investigate the intelligence officials over their possible collusion and interference in the campaign.
In contrast to the suspicious behavior of the Obama-era Justice Department officials and the Clinton campaign, Trump has been commended for his unprecedented level of cooperation during the release of the report.
Even though Mueller painted a largely unflattering portrait of the president—who made his disapproval well known publicly—Trump opted not to assert executive privilege or to request any redactions of his own.
Kushner said that he, too, had fully cooperated with Mueller’s probe, which found that he had passed along a proposal from Kremlin-linked figures after the election on how to reconcile with Russia.
Trump during the campaign publicly hailed WikiLeaks for releasing hacked emails related to Clinton—who had deliberately bleached her private e-mail server containing some 30,000 messages with potentially classified information.
But despite applauding the hackes for casting sunlight on Clinton’s corruption, Trump has said he knew nothing about it in advance.
“In the campaign, we didn’t know that Russia was doing what they were doing,” Kushner said.
Trump was apparently pleased by his son-in-law’s answers, tweeting that he had a “great interview” with Time.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.
© Agence France-Presse