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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Brad Parscale, digital director for the Trump campaign, took to Twitter Friday to hit back at claims made by author Michael Wolff in the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” an explosive new tell-all about the Trump administration. But while Parscale was trying to defend Donald Trump, he ended up throwing two members of Trump’s own family under the bus instead.

“Jared Kushner and Eric Trump were joint deputy campaign managers” whose approval was needed before any decisions were made about the campaign’s operations, Parscale said in a tweet.

“Nobody else. Not one person made a decision without their approval,” he wrote.

Parscale’s comments imply that Trump’s son and son-in-law played a larger role in the campaign than previously thought — and thus shoulder more of the responsibility for any potential wrongdoing.

If, as Parscale says, they granted approval for all decisions regarding the campaign, that would suggest they signed off on things like the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, as well as efforts made by campaign aide George Papadopoulos to establish a meeting between the Trump campaign and officials in the Russian government.

To date, Eric Trump has largely avoided scrutiny in the ongoing Russia investigation, but Parscale’s tweet may change that.

Eric is the co-head of the Trump Organization, which recently turned over documents to special counsel Robert Mueller. According to CNN, the documents pertain to events including the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, an Oct. 2016 paid speech given by Donald Trump Jr., an April 2016 foreign policy address given by Trump at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, and communications regarding WikiLeaks.

Kushner is already under investigation and facing questions about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. and the CEO of a sanctioned Russian bank, as well as his financial history and his role overseeing the Trump campaign’s digital operations. But Parscale’s tweet suggests that Kushner’s role during the 2016 campaign may have been even more outsized — something that investigators are sure to probe further.

Parscale, who now works as the digital media director for the shadowy pro-Trump group America First Policies, is likely to be in the spotlight himself in the coming weeks. His comments Friday come just two days after California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent him a letter asking that he submit to an interview and provide documents related to the ongoing Russia investigation.

The letter asks Parscale to turn over materials including any communications with Russian government officials or operatives, as well as documents related to “hacked emails” and other electronic data stolen from the Democratic National Committee and/or Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It also requests information on any communications regarding WikiLeaks, DC Leaks, Guccifer 2.0, and Russian social media company VKontakte.

“Given your role on the campaign, we believe that you have information that would assist the committee in its investigation related to the 2016 presidential election,” Feinstein wrote.

Congressional investigators want to know if the Trump campaign’s digital operations received funding or any other type of support from Russia, including assistance with their data gathering and voter targeting operations. Specifically, investigators want to know if information stolen from election databases by Russian hackers was used by the Trump campaign.

Notably, when asked by investigators on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees to provide documents on any contacts with foreign governments or foreign actors, Parscale’s data firm Giles-Parscale did not deny having such contacts, in contrast to three other data firms that were subject to the same request.

Now, after these latest remarks by Parscale, investigators may have an entire new line of questioning to pursue — and the Trump family is squarely in the center of it.