Retired U.S. Navy Officer and MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance made a pretty serious charge against President Trump's senior aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner, depending on whether a report from the Washington Post was true or not. He made the accusations Friday on MSNBC to Chis L. Hayes.
"You also said that you thought under the Espionage Act," Hayes asked, referring to the previous panelist saying it sounded like Kushner committed a felony, "what do you mean by that, Malcolm?"
"Right now there's just take it from the perspective of every intelligence watch officer in the world who is watching the program right now," he responded. "There are thousands of people who are out there who are on duty who are watching this, who have top secret SCI, special access program clearance, knowing that in one instance, even a fraction of this, would lose their clearances, will have to ask themselves the question they would have to ask in any counter-intelligence environment and that is simply this: Why?"
"What is the motiviational device that Jared Kushner," he said forcefully, "should this story be true, because we don't know if it's entirely true. We don't even know what the source of this was. The Russians themselves could have leaked this story to create chaos."
"But why would he want to hide, covert," he continued, "his communications from the U.S. government, believing that he would want to be able to use a facility, obviously that would have more secure communications to create a back channel that U.S. cryptologic collection couldn't get."
"That right there along is covert communications," Nance said.
"That is indicative of espionage activity of an American citizen that is working in league with a hostile government," he concluded. "And right now there is no FBI counterintelligence officer in the world right now that does not believe that if this story is true."
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) May 27, 2017
The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner floated the idea of beginning a back channel of communications between the Trump transition team and the Russian government in order to escape monitoring by U.S. authorities. Their anonymous sources indicated that he made this offer to Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak when they met at Trump Tower in December.
Nance supplemented his comments on MSNBC with a few tweets on this account:
1.Did I sound a little panicked on @chrislhayes over Kushner-Rubsecret comms report. I am. What did he intend to pass? The PDB? Nuke codes?— Malcolm Nance (@Malcolm Nance)1495845883.0
2. If that meeting happened-content aside-Kushner & all who work for him need clearances pulled now! Is this a real Cardinal of the Kremlin?— Malcolm Nance (@Malcolm Nance)1495846838.0
Nance has been a vehement critic of the Trump administration, and at one point cracked a crude joke that his Trump Towers in Istanbul would be his nominee for the first ISIS suicide bombing. Nance, a combat veteran, was also very critical of Trump's supporters attacking the father of a fallen Muslim soldier during the presidential election.
The White House has declined to comment on the story.