Aug 1, 2017

Kushner's off-the-record comments leak

Alex Brandon / AP

White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner answered congressional interns' questions about Middle East peace and Russia in an off-the-record session Monday — but his candid comments have leaked.

WIRED obtained a recording of the talk and published the audio on their site, and Foreign Policy reports it obtained a copy of written notes on the talk. The substance of Kushner's talk:

  • He wants to not get stuck in the past on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We don't want a history lesson."
  • On allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia: "[W]e couldn't even collude with our local offices."
  • He downplayed his failure to report more than a hundred contacts with foreign officials and foreign trips.

More highlights:

  • One of his tactics for Middle East peace, as Kushner put it, is, "don't let them get caught in the past," per WIRED.
  • "You kind of have to just pick and choose where you draw conclusions," Kushner said of reaching a solution on the conflict, per WIRED.
  • On whether his team is unique in approaching Middle East peace: "I don't know…I'm sure everyone that's tried this has been unique in some ways…We're thinking about what the right end state is…there may be no solution," per WIRED.

The White House would not comment on the reports of Kushner's talk.

Update: The host of the Intern Lecture Series, Rep. Gregg Harper, Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, told Axios,

"We were honored to have Mr. Kushner address this bipartisan and bicameral group of interns. He was able to speak for almost an hour and insisted on taking questions from the bipartisan audience. It was a great experience for the interns, and we were encouraged by his remarks and his willingness to participate in the series. It is unfortunate that someone who lacked personal integrity ruined the off-the-record setting of this lecture, which was solely for the interns' educational benefit."

Kushner was one of over 40 speakers on lecture series this summer, Harper said.

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