Let’s put two and two together, then add one more item of breaking news from the Senate Judiciary Committee about Jared Kushner, and then speculate a little.
First, we know that a low-level operative in Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty on October 5 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with “foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials,” according to Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office. Papadopoulos, who joined Trump’s foreign-policy team in early March 2016, met soon afterward with those Russian-linked contacts, who told him a few weeks later that “they [the Russians] have dirt” on Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails,” says the special counsel’s statement. And we know that Papadopoulos, an eager beaver if there ever was one, repeatedly met with senior campaign officials to tout his “outreach to Russia” and his efforts to “arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership,” and that the Trump campaign responded by encouraging him to make an “off the record” trip to Moscow. Among the officials who received Papadopoulos’s breathless missives over the course of six months were Senator Jeff Sessions, J.D. Gordon, Stephen Miller, and Corey Lewandowski, and Papadopoulos took part in at least one meeting with Trump himself.
Second, we know that Donald Trump Jr., the dim-bulb offspring of the president, maintained regular contact with WikiLeaks—the chief outlet for the Democrats’ e-mails stolen by Russian intelligence—both before and after the election last November. A series of e-mail exchanges—first reported by The Atlantic and then released, on Twitter, by Don Jr. himself—reveal that Trump Jr. queried WikiLeaks about damaging Clinton material.
“What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” Don Jr. wrote in one exchange. After WikiLeaks e-mailed him asking if he would persuade his father to promote WikiLeaks via the candidate’s own account, just 15 minutes later Trump Sr. tweeted: “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”
Third, thanks to some dogged investigative work by the Senate Judiciary Committee, acting in an admirably bipartisan manner, we’ve learned that Jared Kushner, a top White House official and President Trump’s son-in-law, “overlooked several documents” that he should have supplied to the committee. One involved an unexplained “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.” Others involved “email communications to Mr. Kushner about WikiLeaks.” They were withheld from the committee, which is now demanding that Kushner come clean by supplying all such e-mails and phone communications, including a wide range of contacts in 2016 with Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s former national-security adviser. This news is potentially explosive, and it could lead to Kushner’s being subpoenaed by the committee. If wrongdoing can be proven (including Kushner’s failure to disclose foreign contacts on his SF-86 security clearance disclosure forms), it could lead to his indictment.