Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election were a “terrible thing,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner admitted Tuesday, but they weren’t as bad as the investigations that followed, he said.
Speaking at a Time magazine event, Trump’s son-in-law downplayed Russia’s election meddling, reducing it to “buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent.” He said, “The investigations and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.”
“So if you look at the magnitude of what they did and what they accomplished, I think the ensuing investigations have been way more harmful to our country,” Kushner said.
Asked why the Trump campaign didn’t reject Russia’s attempts to swing the election toward the president, Kushner said, “The notion of what they were doing didn’t even register to us as being impactful. In the campaign we didn’t know that Russia was doing what it was doing.”
The idea that Russia’s election interference attempts could be reduced to “some Facebook ads” doesn’t comport with the Mueller report, the second sentence of which reads: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
The claim that the Trump campaign didn’t know what Russia was up to doesn’t fly either, especially coming from Kushner, who was one of several campaign members to attend a 2016 Trump Tower meeting that promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as a “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”