Senior Trump administration adviser Jared Kushner said Tuesday that the 22-month Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller was “more harmful” to the United States than Russian election interference Mueller was charged with investigating.
Kushner, in his first public remarks since Mueller’s report was released to the public last week, claimed Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election to aid President Donald Trump amounted to “a couple Facebook ads.”
“You look at what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads and trying to sow dissent. It’s a terrible thing,” Kushner, who is also the president’s son-in-law, said in an on-stage interview at the TIME 100 Summit. “But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple Facebook ads.”
Despite Kushner’s claims that the Kremlin’s election interference efforts were little more than a handful of paid Facebook posts, the report submitted by Mueller detailed a multi-faceted operation that included social media posts written and targeted to sow division, as well as cyberattack efforts targeting 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as well as her campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Russian government, which Mueller concluded acted because it felt it would benefit from a Trump presidency, later distributed hacked emails stolen from Clinton and others via the online publisher WikiLeaks and other outlets.
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