Amy Wilentz, a longtime contributing editor at The Nation, was Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker. She’s the author of several award-winning books, most recently Farewell Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Jon Wiener: Jared Kushner has serious legal problems stemming from the Russia investigations, but they have not prevented him from going out.
Amy Wilentz: Jared and Ivanka went to a party given by Lally Weymouth on July 4th weekend in the Hamptons. Lally Weymouth is a socialite, but she’s also the senior associate editor of The Washington Post, because of nepotism. Her mother was the editor and publisher of The Washington Post: Katherine Graham. Republicans were there: In addition to Ivanka and Jared, Kellyanne Conway, and David Koch of the Koch brothers. Also Dina Powell, the deputy national-security adviser in the Trump White House. On the other hand, Chuck Schumer was also there, along with top Democratic funders George Soros and Stephen Spielberg. Various members of the global financial community were also there—all at this party, sipping champagne together, side by side—making you wonder who’s running the world.
JW: But we are told that the Democrats and Republicans have never been farther apart, that we have the most polarizing president in history, that there’s been a complete breakdown of bipartisanship in Washington, DC.
AW: I call this sort of event “biparty-san.” This is the supra-national elite at work. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, and I’m not one, but they do what they do because it’s in their interest. And their interests transcend the divisions in Congress. They’re beyond patriotism and nationalism; they’re functioning in another world, a bigger world. The Trumps are a part of this because they run a real-estate conglomerate that has global interests. The Russian oligarchs are also part of this. They’ve known each other for a long time. A person like Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and the rest of the crew, is attached to many of these influential supra-national figures in Russia. I think that’s why Don Jr., having grown up in that kind of world, doesn’t even understand what it means to have Russians offer you a thing of value like information on Hillary Clinton.
JW: Jared has his own, separate problems. In addition to the reports about his presence at that meeting with the Russian promising dirt on Clinton, there was the story that McClatchy published, that the Justice Department and the House and Senate intelligence committees are looking into whether the Trump campaign’s digital team coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 election. The head of the Trump campaign’s digital team, for some reason, was Jared Kushner. What was all this about?