Jared Kushner released an 11-page statement detailing his contacts with Russia before Inauguration Day but denying campaign collusion — but former FBI special agent Clint Watts said the document raises as many questions as it answers.
The cybersecurity and counterterrorism expert told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” he’s troubled by the amount of contact between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he said the initial failure to disclose those associations had made those campaign and transition officials vulnerable to blackmail.
“Look at the leverage that Russia has on us,” Watts said. “I mean, both in terms of this and if you go back to the G20, we’re now going to leave Russian account of versions of meetings and contacts, and they seem more reliable than our country. That puts us in a dangerous position. When you look through this, it’s either incompetence or they have a lot influence over this administration.”
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt faulted Kushner for trying to explain away his contacts with Russians as essentially rookie mistakes.
“I’m just trying to wrap my head around this entire statement,” Hunt said. “I would say this is essentially the chaos and sloppiness defense. Essentially Jared Kushner is explaining away, point by point, all of the concerning things and offering his version of events that essentially make things that may seem to be problematic simply the result of someone overlooking something.”
Watts wondered if the Trump campaign had met with any other foreign government four times, as Kushner says he did with Russian officials.
“I’m not aware of any with this sort of contact and this sort of focus, (and) that’s troubling to me,” he said. “Also this administration has had no Russia policy, put together nothing tangible in terms of how we’re going to deal with Russian meddling, denies it, and we go a sanctions bill that just went through that the Congress overrode our president on.”