Lurking Jared

I’m still working my way through the Jim Comey testimony. But I’m frankly shocked by this detail: In Comey’s description of the February 14 Oval Office meeting — after which Trump addressed Comey privately about Mike Flynn’s recent firing — he includes this paragraph.

The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and
telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the
participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my
chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me.
The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and
exchanged pleasantries with me. The President then excused him, saying he
wanted to speak with me.

That is, right before Trump started buttering Comey up about the Mike Flynn investigation, both Jeff Sessions and Jared Kushner lurked around. Notably, Comey describes Kushner “exchang[ing] pleasantries” with Comey, perhaps trying to butter him up.

I’ve written before about the Comey-Kushner connection. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to note how creepy Kushner is.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

9 replies
  1. Brad says:

    I noticed this too.  I think what’s notable about this is the fact that Comey mentioned these two.  In his usual fashion, Comey has left the door open for others to verify his claims.  Congress can easily ask Sessions or Kushner if they left the room during this instance.  Comey essentially backed them in a corner because they either have to answer that they were told to leave Comey alone in the room, or flat out lie to Congress.

    I like how Comey thinks.

  2. generalwarrant says:

    When it comes to *creepy*.. Sessions makes Kushner look like an amateur. But together, they’d make a maggot’s skin crawl.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Creepy and goulish.  Kushner would have known what was coming, strategized it, and luxuriated in the threat, the intimidation, the humiliation.

    Sessions would have been more conflicted, having a limited sense of his obligations to the DoJ and its FBI – and the potential legal and political consequences of this hamfisted power play. But Kushner is a half-competent jerk, like Trump, woefully over his head, waving a blow torch in a crowded theater.  His actions have put his family fortune, his personal liberty and the country in jeopardy.  It’s unlikely that Kushner or Trump will use restraint to avoid the pitiable failures they are careening toward.

    These guys all threw Comey under the bus.  The bad news for the president’s supporters is that he’ll do that to anybody to avoid acknowledging that a single Trumpian hair has slipped its lacquered bonds.

    Comey aside, Trump demonstrates once again that the world can burn so long as Trump is ok.  That’s also the mantra of the neoliberal mandarins and their patrons.

  4. lefty665 says:

    Dunno about Sessions, but I never left my subordinate to have a private soiree with my boss without knowing exactly what was happening, why and being in agreement. It is a fundamental abrogation of management. Nothing good is likely to come of it when a manager is cut out of the command structure, and it is likely to leave the subordinate subject to inappropriate pressure and unsupported.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree regarding Sessions and a boss’s duty to protect her staff.  Without Sessions being in agreement, Sessions, who would have known what was coming, should have stayed, if for no less principled reason than to protect Trump from an obstruction charge.  It’s a good demonstration of Rollover Sessions.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The idea that Trump was not “ordering” specific conduct from Comey is laughable. Every player in Washington would intuitively understand the dynamic Trump created and the meaning of the language and circumstances he used. Nearly every corporate lawyer has been in similar circumstances, though not with the weight Comey experienced, and would know it too (certainly anyone reasonably considered for general counsel). So, too, would any serious student of history, be it of Nixon or Henry II, and any serious film buff or reader of fiction. The Pelican Brief comes to mind, though Bob Culp does a better Reagan than he does Trump.

    Trump may not have been the subject of an investigation when he fired Comey. He is now..

  6. Bill Durbin says:

    If you haven’t done so already, you should read Josh Marshall’s piece about the meeting on the plane the night before Comey’s firing.

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