The editor-at-large for CNBC debunked the latest defenses coming from the White House during a Saturday appearance with Alex Witt on MSNBC.
“What do the recent developments tell you about how [Robert] Mueller is putting all the pieces together in this puzzle?” Witt asked John Harwood.
“Well Alex, we don’t know as a legal matter about collusion, but what we do know is that you had a campaign chairman who had been indirectly on Russia’s payroll through his work for Yanukovych in Ukraine. We know that the Trump organization itself has said that it was dependent on Russian money itself before the campaign started. We’ve got the National Security Adviser to the president having pled guilty and cooperating, and we have a president who has declined to implement sanctions that Congress passed against Russia, who has consistently declined to criticize Russia,” Harwood noted. “And we know that Russian hacking helped him win the election.”
“So the pieces are pretty clear that the Russians helped Donald Trump; Donald Trump is pursuing policies favorable to Russia,” Harwood continued. “There’s a steadily increasing amount of pressure, as Jill [Colvin] was just saying, that renders what the White House is saying as nonsense.”
The panel also discussed White House senior advisor Jared Kushner’s inability to get a permanent security clearance.
“Alex, I want to say that the common thread here that relates to the previous conversation is financial distress. Jared Kushner and his family company have a tremendous liability for building in New York and distress makes you vulnerable to pressure from people abroad,” Harwood continued.
“You mean like blackmail? Witt asked. “That’s what they’re worried about?”
“Yes, exactly so,” Harwood answered.
“His situation is very problematic, not just as a matter of security clearance for working in the White House,” Harwood explained, “but we don’t know where Robert Mueller is going to go with respect to Jared Kushner and his finances.”