5 Critical questions Trump Needs to Answer about the Russian Ambassador’s Covert Trip to Trump Tower
by Jen Hayden –
On the heels of the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (and lied about it under oath) leading up to the election—and so did a number of other key advisers—the New York Times followed up with this huge development:
The New Yorker reported this week that Mr. Kushner had met with Mr. Kislyak at Trump Tower in December. Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, confirmed on Thursday that Mr. Flynn was also at the meeting in response to questions from a New York Times reporter.
Trump’s trusted son-in-law Jared Kushner (who, despite nepotism laws, is serving as senior White House adviser to Donald Trump) personally met with Kislyak at Trump Towers the very week President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia related to the Russian hack of DNC emails servers. More on the meeting from the New York Times:
“They generally discussed the relationship and it made sense to establish a line of communication,” Ms. Hicks said. “Jared has had meetings with many other foreign countries and representatives — as many as two dozen other foreign countries’ leaders and representatives.”
The Trump Tower meeting lasted 20 minutes, and Mr. Kushner has not met since with Mr. Kislyak, Ms. Hicks said.
It was during this same December period, just after the election, that a horde of photographers captured every person entering and leaving Trump Tower. The media was breathlessly covering the comings and goings of all guests—everyone from Kanye West to the Naked Cowboy to Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions. The cameras seemed to capture everyone except Sergey Kislyak entering Trump Tower. He was covertly brought into the building, away from the flash of the cameras, away from the reporters and onlookers. All told, there are several troubling elements at play here, and the revelation Kislyak met with Kushner leads to several questions that simply must be answered. In no particular order:
- If the Kilsyak meeting was legit, why did the Trump staff go to such lengths to conceal his visit?
- Where did the meeting take place? Was it in the offices of the Trump organization? Paul Manafort’s Trump Tower residence? Donald Trump’s personal residence?
- Who else attended the meeting? The New York Times confirms former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner were there. Was anyone else? Right-hand man Reince Priebus? Steve Bannon? At the time, Ivanka Trump was seen meeting with nearly everyone, so were brothers Donald, Jr., and Eric Trump present? After all, we also learned this week that Junior was paid $50,000 to attend a meeting in Paris to discuss the Syrian conflict and possible U.S.-Russian cooperation in the region. And after all, Junior once bragged about all the money “pouring in from Russia” to the Trump Organization. He traveled to Russia at least half a dozen times from 2008-09.
- What, specifically, was discussed at the meeting? We know the meeting happened around the time President Obama announced sanctions against Russia for the hacking and expelled 35 Russian diplomats. Was this discussed at the meeting? Were promises made to roll back these sanctions? Repeal the expulsion of these diplomats?
- Finally, and most importantly, did Donald Trump himself speak with Sergey Kilsyak at Trump Tower? After all, the two men know each other. In fact, at an April 2016 Trump campaign speech, Kilsyak was on hand and the Wall Street Journal reported “Mr. Trump warmly greeted Mr. Kislyak” at a VIP reception before the speech. Jeff Sessions was also mingling among the guests at that reception. Are we to believe that Kilsyak was summoned to Trump Tower, taking a private flight from Washington, D.C., covertly brought into the building to … meet with Jared Kushner for 20 minutes? Donald Trump rarely left Trump Tower during this time. He didn’t even come by the meeting to shake hands with Putin’s top U.S. representative, his old friend?
These are questions that simply have to be answered, preferably under oath.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos