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jueves, 1 de marzo de 2018

John Podesta to Jared Kushner: Time to wear a ‘kevlar vest’

Former White House chief of staff and Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta must have been channeling his self-described “evil twin” “Skippy” when he posted threatening remarks aimed at the president’s son-in-law on social media. Podesta — or his infamous alter ego — told White House senior advisor Jared Kushner that he “better start wearing his kevlar on his back” in an ill-conceived tweet that has many Americans questioning his meaning.

Podesta and Hyde

Podesta cited a Washington Post story that, using anonymous sources, suggested Kushner may have had his security clearance revoked after being targeted by foreign operatives. The highly speculative story inferred that Kushner’s lack of experience and earnest naïveté made him vulnerable to manipulation by shadowy international forces — a weakness that Podesta believes will foster resentment from other White House staff and should compel Kushner to watch his back.

However, some observers believe that the former Clinton operative’s statement was more of an odious threat than a considerate warning. Given the highly polarized political atmosphere inside the beltway, it doesn’t require a great leap of imagination to submit that Podesta was calling Kushner a traitor and suggesting that he should be shot.

Within his tweet, Podesta partially quoted a statement from Kushner legal spokesman Peter Mirijanian, who said:

We will not respond substantively to unnamed sources peddling second-hand hearsay with rank speculation that continue to leak inaccurate information.

Instead of acknowledging that the Washington Post hit-piece was built entirely upon testimony from uncorroborated “current and former officials” — a trademark of post-truth, anti-Trump era reporting — Podesta inexplicably concluded that Kushner is a leaker who had better don body armor to protect himself from those who would do him harm.

Monumental leaker

The absurdity of Podesta’s snide and sanctimonious threat is ironic given his own propensity to compromise sensitive information. After all, this is the same man who fell prey to a third-rate phishing scam which effectively cost Clinton her last chance at the White House.

At the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, suspected Russian hackers began releasing thousands of embarrassing and politically compromising emails obtained from Podesta’s account. Clinton’s right-hand man fell for a comically unsophisticated ruse by clicking on a link that asked him to change his password, and some credit Clinton’s unexpected defeat to this critical mistake.

Yet, there were no prominent Republicans telling Podesta to watch his back or leaving threatening innuendo on social media in the aftermath of this monumental leak.

Incidentally, the suggestion from the liberal media that Kushner’s security clearance is being withheld because of his foreign contacts or inexperience is nothing more than unsubstantiated conjecture. According to figures from the Office of Personnel Management, background investigations for candidates seeking “Top Secret” clearances took an average of 193 days to complete in fiscal-year 2015, and it is not unusual for the process to take in excess of one year in some cases.

Mirijanian confirmed that there is nothing unusual about his client’s security status:

Those involved in the process again have confirmed that there are dozens of people at Mr. Kushner’s level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for these clearance reviews to take this long in a new administration, and that the current backlogs are now being addressed

Despite attempts to frame his revoked access to security briefings as evidence of negligence on behalf of Kushner and the White House, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor is expected to have his credentials approved in less than one month, when the FBI wraps up their months-long background check.

Foot-in-mouth disease

This was by no means the first occasion where Podesta has been made to eat his words regarding Trump or his family. Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” last week, Podesta said that Trump “has failed in carrying out his duty as president” by not shielding the U.S. from Russian meddling efforts. This is a rather brazen claim from Podesta given his own ties to the Kremlin.

In the Russia collusion probe which has sputtered out without producing any evidence worthy of justifying the costs and scope of the investigation, perhaps the most provocative example of criminal wrongdoing belonged to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Among other crimes, Manafort stands accused of lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine headed by ousted Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych —an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — and failing to register as a foreign agent for this role.

However, Manafort didn’t commit these alleged crimes while working with the Trump campaign. While he was attempting to prop up a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician, Manafort used the Podesta Group, founded by John Podesta’s brother, to lobby then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on behalf of Russia.

To make matters worse, the Podesta Group later attempted to conceal their ties to these foreign interests, retroactively filing paperwork to conceal the firm’s illicit activities.

In other words, Podesta has no right to accuse his political rivals of collusion with Russia, in the same way, that he is wrong to call out Kushner for leaking. The callous manner in which he makes threats of bodily harm to the president’s family is characteristic of efforts by the Left to demonize and dehumanize Trump, and no one is safe from their vitriolic judgment — not even the president’s family.


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