Friday on Morning Joe, the subject of Russia was front and center and in particular the alleged interest the FBI is showing in Jared Kushner’s “backchannel” to Sergy Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, and a meeting he may or may not have had with a Russian banker Sergey Gorkov. I suspect there is not a lot to be found there but, still, getting a public proctological exam by the FBI can’t be a pleasant experience.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough suggested on Friday that the leaks about President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, seeking to establish a back channel with the Russians, came from the White House’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Scarborough said that he had sources tell him that Bannon was “bragging to journalists” that he would win the war of attrition with Kushner through leaks about Russia.
“Two days after I heard this – two days! – front page New York Times story about the links between Kushner and Russia,” Scarborough said. “A coincidence? Absolutely not.”
Scarborough added, “Steve Bannon has been leaking – I believe, based on everything I’ve heard – has been leaking these stories. People very close to Steve Bannon were telling me before these stories were leaked that he was going to be leaking these stories.”
When you’re talking about the interactions in the White House, unless you are employed there you are, at best, engaging in uninformed speculation. The overwhelming majority of the leaks emanating from the White House right now are calculated to make someone in the White House look bad to the benefit of the leaker. In short, you are witnessing a Game of Throne’s episode, except with a cast of evil and demented dwarfs and you are watching them by way of fun house mirrors.
Early stories indicated that Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner were in a state of conflict over influence. Allegedly, Kushner was behind Bannon being booted from a perch in the NSC. Later we hear that they’ve reached a rapprochement. We know, with some certainty, that Kushner and Bannon were on different sides on the Paris Agreement.
Is it possible that Bannon is leaking on Kushner? Sure. Is it possible that he’s shooting his mouth off to REPORTERS about leaking on Kushner? Is Bannon really gambling that he can take out the husband of Trump’s favorite child? I don’t know–or want to know–Bannon so your guess is as good as mine but I am inclined to agree with our Townhall colleague, Kurt Schlichter:
I expect Bannon would run out and tell this to people who hate him.
It's a ham-handed attempt to get him fired.
It won't work. https://t.co/muyZAKpmU1
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) June 3, 2017
So Bannon may be leaking to hurt Kushner. Or Kushner could be leaking that Bannon is leaking about Kushner to hurt Bannon. Or a third party could be leaking to hurt them both. All are equally possible. It is entirely possible that all could be true at the same time.