Despite stern warnings not to tape the session, a leaked recording of White House adviser Jared Kushner’s off-the-record lecture to a group of congressional interns on Monday managed to find its way into the hands of Wired reporter Ashley Feinberg. The recording itself features Kushner discussing his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that fails to inspire confidence.
Ahead of the lecture, Katie Patru, a House staffer who organized the event, briefed the interns and noted that recording and disseminating any audio or video from the session would be a major “breach of trust.”
“This town is full of leakers and everyone knows who they are, and no one trusts them,” Patru warned. “In this business your reputation is everything. I’ve been on the hill for 15 years. I’ve sat in countless meetings with members of Congress where important decisions were being made. During all those years in all those meetings, I never once leaked to a reporter.” Patru added that it would “bother [her] to [her] core” if she discovered anyone had been giving up information to the press.
At least one intern was not impressed. According to the recording leaked to Wired, Kushner, who has stumbled in previous visits with Middle East leaders, seized on the opportunity to vent his frustrations on the peace process. At one point, he bemoaned others’ attempts to give him a “history lesson” on the subject, which he claimed was useless.
“You know everyone finds an issue…‘You have to understand what they did then,’ and ‘You have to understand that they did this,’” he said. “But how does that help us get peace? Let’s not focus on that. We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on how do you come up with a conclusion to the situation.”
He added, “You have some people who don’t want to see and achieve an outcome of peace. And other people sometimes thrive in the chaos…and that’s not new to politics and its not new to that conflict. It’s just the way it is.”
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