July 24, 2017

The news this morning is a long statement released by Jared Kushner ahead of his testimony before the Senate and House intel committees this week, and the Morning Joe crew dug into it.

"My biggest question is how he doesn't know what this Don Jr. meeting is about when it's in the subject line of the e-mail," Mika said. "That I guess he is saying in this statement and he will say today that he didn't read the e-mail. You see subject lines when you open up your -- you can't help but to read them. I'm just so curious as to how they get around that."

"It raises questions," said Josh Earnest, former Obama press secretary.

"The other part of this that has to be unraveled is for all of the efforts on the part of Jared Kushner and others to explain away all the conversations. What's very difficult to explain away are the policy decisions the Trump White House has made in the first six months with regard to Russia. We've seen all along, even, you know, Jared Kushner appears to acknowledge that there were conversations about relaxing sanctions against Russia.

He ticked off a list of policy decisions made in favor of Russia, including the possible return of seized intelligence facilities to Russia.

"So this is the thing that is difficult to explain away. The policy decisions are not going in the direction of getting tough on Russia," Earnest said.

Former FBI agent Clint Watts had a different perspective.

"If you look at it from the other side, which is more dangerous? That they were knowingly being influenced or unwittingly being influenced?" he said.

"If you look at this and these meetings that he described, if I'm on the Russia side, i'm going to look at diplomatic, information, intelligence, military, economic. I have Kislyak in a diplomatic meeting. I have the chief banker on the other side. I have Flynn talking about Syria coordination and now I have a lawyer showing up in Trump Tower doing intelligence activities.

"From the Russian perspective, this is a full spectrum influence operation in that six month period. They contacted kushner and he may very well not even realize what's happening to him with all these meetings," Watts said.

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