The slow burn of an expanding Russia investigation and the rapid-fire bombshells around the people closest to President Donald Trump are now causing strife among Trump’s legal counsel, The New York Times reported Tuesday night.
Longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz and his team have directed their grievance at Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
Citing a person familiar with Trump’s legal team, The Times said Kasowitz has bristled at Kushner’s “whispering in the president’s ear” about stories on the Russia investigation without telling Kasowitz and his team.
The Times’ source said the attorneys, who were hired as private counsel to Trump in light of the Russia investigation, view Kushner “as an obstacle and a freelancer” motivated to protect himself over Trump. The lawyers reportedly told colleagues the work environment among Trump’s inner circle was untenable, The Times said, suggesting Kasowitz could resign.
Kushner has long had Trump’s ear and it is not the first time his familial connection to the president has ruffled feathers among outsiders. Kushner clashed with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon early in Trump’s administration, which briefly stirred rumours that Bannon could be pushed out.
Kushner has also faced intense scrutiny in the ongoing Russia probes. In May, reports emerged that he had tried to establish a backchannel line of communication with Russia that would have circumvented US intelligence. And he was among the participants in a meeting last June with a Russian lawyer that was set up by his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr., under an expectation of gleaning potentially damaging information on Hillary Clinton.