Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Saturday that Jared Kushner did nothing criminal in seeking a secret network with Moscow but expressed dismay that "in America, you have the president-elect and his staff trusting the Russians more than they trust the Obama administration."
"Isn't that a tragedy?" Dershowitz posed to Ana Cabrera on CNN. "It's telling us something about the level of trust in the country."
The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, had proposed the back-channel communications to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December and that the Russian had reported it to his supervisors in Moscow.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that Kushner had proposed the plan to explore the incoming administration's options with Russia in developing its Syria policy.
The intent was to connect Trump's chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, the AP reports.
Russia has long backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, often at the expense of civilians, during the long civil war.
No such network was necessary, the administration decided, after Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state – moving toward more official communications channels with Moscow.
"There's nothing, even arguably in my view at least, criminal about any of this," Dershowitz told Cabrera. "That's why a special counsel is a wrong person to investigate this."
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named earlier this month as special prosecutor in the agency's Russia probe.
"These are political issues that have to be investigated by an independent outside commission set up by Congress," Dershowitz said. "It will do everything under the sunlight of the TV camera rather than behind the secret walls, where we're not going to learn anything."
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