Jared Kushner’s talk with the Russians means Trump’s media nightmare goes on

President-elect Donald Trump speaks with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Another day, another report about Trump campaign advisors setting up meetings with the Russian ambassador.

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This time it’s Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor. According to the White House, Kushner accompanied now-disgraced former national security advisor Mike Flynn to a discussion that took place in Trump Tower last December with Russia’s ambassador. News of this previously undisclosed meeting has become grist for the cable media mill.

As desirable as it would be to lump in Kushner’s meeting with all the other sketchy exchanges Trump officials have had with Russians, it’s wise to take a step back and put this specific event in perspective. A senior presidential advisor talking about the possibility of opening up relations with another country and developing a reliable channel of communication is nothing new. In fact, there isn’t anything wrong with it: Kushner reportedly has a wide brief on foreign policy, and he talks with ambassadors and foreign ministers all the time. It’s only natural for someone with that responsibility to reach out to a very significant power like Russia and try to flesh out areas where Washington and Moscow can work constructively together.

The Kushner meeting isn’t the problem. The problem for the White House is that every drop of information about Russia is accelerant to a 24-hour news media that is already licking its chops and looking for more. Contacts with Russian officials have been turned into something scandalous, and reporters do their best work when it looks like the government is covering up something.

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Is there is a conspiracy here? Who knows? But even the staunchest Trump supporter has to admit that it’s a little strange that the same Russian (Sergei Kislyak) is appearing so often and in so many places. Russian interference in our electoral process, Mike Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador about possibly unwinding the sanctions that the previous administration imposed, Flynn lying to Vice President Mike Pence about those contacts, reports that European intelligence spotted Russians meeting with Trump associates during the campaign, former Obama officials frantically trying to preserve that intelligence over fears that Trump would destroy it, Attorney General Jeff Sessions having to recuse himself from any Justice Department investigation after it was revealed he too met with Kislyak…it’s a story that keeps growing and one that the White House can’t control.

An administration official told Politico that the White House is “hunkering down” and in a state of siege. It isn’t hard to grasp why. The Trump-Russia connection is consistently one of the first stories to come up during every White House press briefing. I’m not sure how the Trump administration can get out of this whirlpool. They can’t control where the story goes, though they do have the power to appoint a special prosecutor to look into all things Russia. President Trump is understandably worried about what a prosecutor would turn up in the course of an investigation, and the mere appointment of one will be packaged in the press as a defeat for a president who would rather die than lose.

RELATED: It isn’t Trump officials’ communications with Russians that are weird — it’s the cover-up

But a special prosecutor may be the only way that Trump can cool this story down for a couple of months and turn his focus back to what he wants to accomplish. Repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, getting a $1 trillion infrastructure package through Congress, building a $15 billion wall on the southern border, and dealing with immigration reform is hard enough without having to respond to endless press inquiries about whether you inappropriately colluded with an adversarial power.

What do you think?

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