Jared Kushner Invited Matt Whitaker For Ride On Marine 1 Helicopter, Possible Ethics Conflict
The 37-year-old senior adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump and acting attorney general were spotted boarding presidential helicopter Marine One together on Friday. Their encounter quickly sparked outrage and raised questions about what Kushner told Whitaker and vice-versa. Kushner has recently become one of the many Trump associates who is being scrutinized by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Whitaker, who replaced Jeff Sessions last month to lead the Justice Department on an interim basis, is known for staunchly defending Trump and for publicly saying he believes it is possible for him to legally undermine Mueller’s probe. Many lawmakers, especially Democrats — who will hold the majority in the House come January — have Whitaker’s appointment to the acting attorney general position “unconstitutional” and called for his recusal from the inquiry.
On Monday, Joyce Vance — who served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama under former President Barack Obama said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe she believes Whitaker must recuse himself given this latest stunt with Kushner, especially given the fact that Trump’s son-in-law is “clearly in the lens right now with no decisions made.”
Some people on social media also pointed to the double-standard of a similar incident from June 2016, when Bill Clinton was seen speaking with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac at Phoenix, Arizona as Lynch was preparing to board a flight. Republicans slammed the pair, especially Clinton, for engaging in the conversation, especially as it came while the FBI was investigating 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. Shortly after this incident, Lynch told reporters she and Bill Clinton simply spoke about personal matters like traveling and their respective grandchildren.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had at the time called for Lynch to recuse herself because of her brief conversation with the former president. However, no Republican officials have thus far said the same thing about Whitaker following his meeting with Kushner.
Loretta Lynch’s brief Tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton sent the GOP into a frenzy, so surely, there will be intense outrage that the son-in-law of a president, who is under investigation along with him, invited the AG heading the investigation to fly with him on Marine 1. https://t.co/VosxsU9Bwy
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) December 7, 2018