In Previously Undisclosed December 2018 Interview, Jared Kushner Got Warned Falsely Claiming to Not Recall Is Still a Lie

BuzzFeed released another tranche of Mueller documents the other night. Generally, they’re as interesting for the small details as for any blockbuster reveals.

Someone got interviewed in October 2018 about recordings he made of Jay Sekulow’s conversations with him. A woman voluntarily allowed the FBI to take a forensic image of her refurbished iPhone 7 in October 2018, apparently so they could try to get the comms of its previous owner. The 302 for Brittany Kaiser (the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower) shows no b7A redactions for ongoing investigation, even though other 302s with CA related information do.

But I’m particularly intrigued that Jared Kushner had a previously undisclosed December 19, 2018 interview that didn’t even show up on the master list of Mueller interviews. It was conducted by Andrew Goldstein, Andrew Weissmann, and Zainab Ahmad, so it definitely was a (high profile) Mueller interview. (One Paul Manafort lie Meuller’s team was trying to sort through at the time likely pertained to Kushner, though I’m not sure Ahmad would be involved in an interview on that topic.)

Most of the interview, like the other Kushner interviews, is redacted, mostly under b5 (deliberative) redactions, though there are some b7A ones.

About the only thing left unredacted is this warning from Goldstein:

SASC Goldstein advised Kushner that the interview was being conducted under the same terms as the prior interview. SASC Goldstein advised Kushner that it was a crime to lie during the interview. SASC Goldstein advised Kushner that answering a question with “I don’t recall,” when you do recall, is a lie.

Which doesn’t say much about what Kushner said in this interview. It does reveal what he had said in past interviews.

In other words, Kushner at least attempted to pursue the same strategy his father-in-law did, by not recalling really damning information.

57 replies
  1. dadidoc1 says:

    Is it possible that Eric Trump is actually smarter, and Jared Kushner truly can’t recall much?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Kushner isn’t much smarter than Trump, but he has better impulse control and social skills. A low bar, but there it is. He would appear to be using the standard advice from the family consigliere about how to answer questions without overtly committing perjury. Eric has less of everything, except undue arrogance. Both probably remember well two things: how they make money, and key events that got Donald Trump into the Oval Office.

  2. BobCon says:

    Maybe I’m missing something obvious. I can see how redaction could be justified by DOJ, but what would be the reason for not disclosing the interview at all? Surely everyone on the Trump defense team would have known about it, right?

  3. Chris.EL says:

    … feeling free to contribute…

    hope this isn’t too far off topic: don’t understand why Vance doesn’t subpoena (ducas tecum) the Trump boys re Trump Org. tax, insurance, etc.

    They’re s’posed to be running the company no?

    Have a sinking feeling after Trump loses election he’ll skedaddle directly to “asylum” in Russia and continue to muck up the U.S. government remotely.

    In that Axios interview he was practically YELLING at the reporter!

    SAD, SAD, SAD. The president of the United States. Flopping pieces of paper around to give himself credibility? Elementary school kids do better than that.

    • Peterr says:

      Back when the tax fraud and insurance fraud that Cohen says was going on, it was all Donald. Don Jr, Eric, and Ivanka were good little kids – seen and not heard. And probably not even seen so much when Donald and Cohen cooked the memos and documents going to banks (Hey, this property is pure gold!) and the tax authorities (Hey, this property is pure dirt!). Don Jr and Eric can run errands, and Ivanka could be trotted out when having a young blond woman around might improve the scenery of an otherwise boring negotiation, but when it comes to fraud and double dealing, Trump knows better than to involve the kids.

      And Jared had his own property problems to deal with (666 Park Av comes to mind), and didn’t need to be mixed up in Trump’s stuff.

        • Theodora30 says:

          Vance had Don Jr. and Ivanka dead-to-rights because he had their emails discussing the inflated numbers of both number of units they had sold and the price they were going for that they were telling potential Trump SoHo buyers. His people wanted to prosecute them but he declined because those buyers had withdrawn their complaint after the Trumps bought them off. That was despicable — Vance had a chance to stop obvious crooks from cheating people but he decided not to outrage potential donors. He did a similar thing with Harvey Weinstein. He could have stopped these criminals but he protected his re-election chances.

          This is a perfect example showing why these positions should not be elected ones. Also why money in elections should be limited.

          The media should have given more attention to this story. The kids are crooks too.

      • notjonathon says:

        Hey, to go wildly off topic, for a little lightness, my sister took me to dinner at the Top of the Sixes the last time I was in New York–in 1959.

        • Theodora30 says:

          My aunt took me and my cousin there when we were 12 and spending the weekend with her. She had never married so she did special “adult” things with her nieces and nephews. We were the babies of them family.
          It was my first really fancy restaurant meal and first time I ever had onion soup. It’s a very special memory and I was sad when Jared got his smarmy mitts on that building.

    • vicks says:

      Speaking of elementary school kids…
      Trump’s brag about acing a dementia screening test and watching him look around the room on national TV saying “man, sign, camera” (or whatever he was looking at and rattling off) reminded me of way too much of “Shifty Shiff” “Crooked Hillary” and “Build the Wall” to be a coincidence.
      These are not the sound bites of a marketing genius, but a peek inside the learning tools and strategies taught to an elementary school kid that struggles with processing information
      Yet another quote from Swan’s interview brings even more of what is getting covered up in Trump’s world into focus.
      Swan: “Do you read your written brief?”
      Trump: “I do. I read it a lot. I read a lot. They like to say I don’t read. I read a lot. I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anybody you’ve interviewed in a long time.”

      I am in no way saying that a child with learning disabilities can’t be president, however in this instance the covering up, the re-framing and hiding of information from a man-child who clearly lacks the skill sets to make decisions on behalf of anyone beyond himself is as sickening as the monster these enablers have created.

        • vicks says:

          Oh boy, I had to do a quick google of Trump’s comments on Daines to make sure this guy was doing an impression (he is very good) and not a lip sync.

          • Stacey says:

            I know, right? Remember when people at first were like “Is Tina Fey seriously just repeating exactly what Sarah Palin said in that interview?” because it was so bonkers! I had the same reaction to this guy’s stuff, he so nails not just the voice, but the brain bugs Donald chases around the ground as he disturbs rocks by his little mental pond. The asides to Pence asking if he’s ever met this guy he’s doing an ad for, in the middle of the ad! Comedy Gold!

            • Alan Charbonneau says:

              He’s so good that people have criticized him for stealing Sara Cooper’s act. But he is doing an impression vs. her doing lip syncing. Plus, he is not reciting actual Trump material, but it sounds like he is.

      • Theodora30 says:

        Mary Tump says he probably has an undiagnosed learning disability.
        I recently heard someone on my Tee Vee machine say that his briefer realized he never read the briefings so they limited their input to three brief memos. They found he usually only read two of them. That could just be hubris and laziness.

        I remember when Bush demanded he only get on page memos – fronts only. His advisers were appalled at how “incurious” he was. The media didn’t care because he was more fun to have a beer with or a member of an American royal family some such stupidity.

  4. Sandwichman says:

    I get that claiming to not recall when in fact you do recall is a lie. But how is a prosecutor going to prove it? Isn’t that the point?

    • Peterr says:

      Maybe like this:

      You sit here today and say you don’t recall? That’s really interesting . . .

      Last year, when you were bragging about how you were going to beat this, you had no trouble recalling the details, according to what a good friend of yours told us . . .

      Last quarter, you recalled all the details when you were talking to . . .

      Two weeks ago, you recalled pretty specifically when you wrote this email . . .

      Have you had some kind of medical issue that we aren’t aware of that has compromised your recollection, or would you like to reconsider your answer and see if perhaps our little chat has jogged your memory?

      Paper trails area wonderful thing. From personal calendars identifying meetings, to receipts for meals and travel, from emails and memos to checks and bank transaction records . . . there are lots of ways to prove it.

      • vicks says:

        Yes, if Kushner struggled with memory issues you would surely see it in other areas of his life, not just the one’s that would implicate himself or others in crimes
        I would add to your question of a medical condition, drug abuse or a habit of drinking to the point of oblivion, all things that could explain a person forgetting about activities other people had reported they had participated in.
        My actual question is when is it “perjury” v “obstruction of justice” and can it be both?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Yes. Perjury is lying under oath about a material fact. Obstruction goes to the purpose of the lie, making it harder to pursue an investigation into or prosecution of criminal wrongdoing. They aren’t identical, but the facts often overlap and establish both. See, Scooter Libby.

        • P J Evans says:

          Two weeks isn’t very long, and when you were discussing something in detail with others, you probably should remember something about it.

        • Marc In Denver says:

          “In your previous interview a month ago, you said you didn’t recall x. Two weeks later, you were heard discussing x with A. Remember, falsely claiming not to recall is a lie”

    • JamesJoyce says:

      Defense 101

      Say nothing…

      Plausible deniability is a jurors question of fact based on what?

      Hooked on a feeling?

      Uga Charga..
      Uga Charga..

      The more you gab, the more it will be used against you any way possible.

      Taking the 5th is suicide, in spite its obvious design.

      Besides grand jury process can be fixed just like a USAG can be a fixer.


      • vvv says:

        “Besides grand jury process can be fixed just like a USAG can be a fixer.”

        Do you have any evidence, or are you just arse-talking?

    • f f skitty says:

      john erlichman’s masterful use of plausible deniability is still the gold standard:
      ‘senator, at this point in time i do not recall.’

      • Peterr says:

        I’m not sure I’d call that the Gold Standard. From JE’s wiki:

        Ehrlichman was defended by Andrew C. Hall during the Watergate trials, in which he was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, and other charges on January 1, 1975 (along with John N. Mitchell and Haldeman). All three men were initially sentenced to between two and a half and eight years in prison. In 1977, the sentences were commuted to one to four years. Unlike his co-defendants, Ehrlichman voluntarily entered prison before his appeals were exhausted. He was released from the Federal Correctional Institution, Safford, after serving a total of 18 months.Having been convicted of a felony, he was disbarred from the practice of law.

        If getting 18 months in prison and being disbarred is what you get for masterful use of the gold standard reply, there are a lot of folks looking at some seriously hard time.

  5. graham firchlis says:

    The Kushner-Trump marriage is reminiscent of the 1962 union between Carlo Gambino’s son Tommy and Thomas Lucchese’s daughter Francis. Two NYC mob families strengthened by alliance, until they weren’t.

    Immunized informants, infighting and attacks by competing mobsters damaged the dominance of the Gambino Lucchese alliance. Lots of prison sentences.

    The same fate will eventually befall Trump Kushner. An independent DOJ will help expose the rest of their organized crime iceberg.


  6. punaise says:

    he can just cite the Peter Gabriel defense:

    I got no means to show identification
    I got no papers show you what I am
    You’ll have to take me just the way that you find me
    What’s gone is gone and I do not give a damn

    Empty stomach, empty head
    I got empty heart and empty bed
    I don’t remember, I don’t recall
    I got no memory of anything at all

  7. subtropolis says:

    “It does reveal what he had said in past interviews.”

    It reveals nothing at all about what he said, only how he said it. Whatever it was.

  8. Savage Librarian says:

    The person who recorded Sekulow seems to have a short last name. One name that might fit (though many could) might be Dan Senor. In 2004 he was scheduled to speak about war in Iraq to the very secretive and exclusive right wing Council for National Policy (CNP.) See note 1 below.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center was able to post a 2014 roster from the CNP. Among the assorted lists, you will see some familiar names: Jay Sekulow, Jerome Corsi, Kellyanne Conway, Rich DeVos, Ed Prince, Jerry Falwell, and more. Interestingly, 2020 is the targeted date for accomplishing their Vision Statement. See note 2 below.

    1. “Behind Closed Doors” | Americans United for Separation of Church and State

    2. SPLC posted CNP 2014 roster

    Wikipedia also has an article on the CNP with additional info and names, including Steve Bannon.

    • Eureka says:

      I thought it was Cohen.

      (Fits his MO and some known circumstances. Clicked through to docs and seems consistent).

      Funny, I was just thinking of you.

      I want to know what “Sekulow wanted to know who [redacted] within the Trump campaign. [Paras redacted]”.

      Adding to EW: I find it very helpful when you give a parens note re what the redactions stand for, as in this and prev. post (pandemo-brain, hard to recall which alphabet soups at times).

        • madwand says:

          Thanks for the read, SL, just another one of those under the radar groups positing the Christian remake of the US. It’s possibly a reason for the solidarity of the evangelical movement in supporting Trump. From the article Dobson says, ‘“It’s a lack of conviction that there is a boss to the universe and that there are moral standards that we are held to and we need officials that will stand up and respect them,” Dobson said.

          So they chose Trump as their standard bearer and way to power. Any port in a storm so to speak, and it was always really about power.

          • P J Evans says:

            They make a lot of assumptions that all amount to “We know The Only Right Way and everyone else is Wrong and Going to H*ll”.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Wayne LaPierre is/was a member of CNP.

          “ ‘Shadow Network’ Offers A Lesson On The American Right’s Mastery Of Politics”- Michael Schaub, 10/29/20
          “Nelson seeks to document the connections between “the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.” Many of these connections, she writes, were made possible through the CNP, whose members have included such familiar names as Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, former White House strategist Steve Bannon, the Christian Coallition’s first executive director Ralph Reed and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.”

          • madwand says:

            And the last says it all.

            “The CNP and its partners have spent over four decades studying their audience and mastering the written and unwritten rules of American politics,” Nelson writes. “Its moralists have little regard for the rights of minorities; its financiers lack concern for social welfare; and its strategists have no respect for majority rule. If it is fully realized, their combination of theocracy and plutocracy could result in a dystopia for those who fall outside their circle.”

            So therein lies the seeds of their downfall, they can’t bring the rest of us along for their ride. They’re incapable of it. So right from the start it fails to embrace the great majority of people living in this country. Eventually that’s a prescription for disaster in any society.

  9. FL Resister says:

    Is it too much to ask that the levers and gears of government work together to assure that the public decide who controls those levers and gears?
    Our country is founded on rule by majority but is “lead” (or not) by an increasingly gerrymandered minority.
    Mitch McConnell should die with his dick in his mouth. And while they’re at it, put Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump into the eternal damnation chamber starting with while they’re alive.
    In addition to “The New Abnormal” from Daily Beast, have been listening to Charlie Sykes on The Bulwark, a daily podcast, and recommend libs tune in and listen to Republicans try to save their party by absolute condemnation of this administration and Trump’s Republican enablers.

    Today’s guest was Rick Wilson from The Lincoln Project. One of several Republican thinkers and strategists trying to save the party. They are unanimously saying (with plugged nose) that at least Joe Biden won’t ignore the Constitution and break laws. They will deal with policy disagreements later.
    I really hope that Andrew Weissman’s book will shed light on the Trump Kushner et al strategies for personally profiting from public policy.

    • MB says:

      The levers and gears of government must be manually operated – who’s stepping on the clutch, I ask?

      Your description of Mitch McConnell above reminds me directly of this little sci-fi short film I watched recently called “Macrocosm”. Enjoy.

      • FL Resister says:

        Funny you should mention Sci-Fi which I stopped reading years ago after enjoying Hebert’s Dune series but picked up some Philip K. Dick a couple weeks ago. His famous paranoia fits the Trump era’s doublespeak, “alternative truths,” and institutionalized corruption.

    • Epicurus says:

      The Republican Party cannot and should not be saved. It is only a matter of time, less than a generation, before its exclusivity and core values turn it into the Redeemer segment of the Southern Democrats after the Civil War with elements of the Whigs and the Know Nothing Party. Trump and McConnell are just the heralding messengers.

      The “Golden Rule” decides who controls the levers and gears of government. Those with all the gold make the rules. That’s why Jared Kushner, criminally unprepared and incompetent by any definition for the position he holds, is running the subshow in the Executive Branch and why Elaine Chao’s family is running the subshow in the Legislative Branch while she nurtures it in the Executive Branch.

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