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Top White House Official’s Off-the-Record Remarks to Interns Leaked within a Day!

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner gave what was supposed to be an off-the-record talk to a group of congressional interns Monday as part of an ongoing summer lecture series, but his comments did not stay private for very long.

Prior to the talk, Katie Patru, the deputy staff director for member services, outreach and communications, asked the interns to keep the session off the record, and warned that recording Kushner’s remarks would be “such a breach of trust.”

“To record today’s session would be such a breach of trust, from my opinion,” Patru said prior to Kushner’s talk. “This town is full of leakers and everyone knows who they are, and no one trusts them.”

“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 … If someone in your office has asked you to break our protocol and give you a recording so they can leak it, as a manager, that bothers me at my core,” she said.

Patru’s warning fell on deaf ears.

Within 24 hours, Wired had obtained and published a recording of a portion of Kushner’s speech, in which President Donald Trump’s son-in-law revealed his candid thoughts on the Trump administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The recording captured Kushner responding to a question about his plans to negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine.

Kushner admitted that “there may be no solution” to the decades-long conflict.

“So, what do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know,” Kushner said. “I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is. And we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on.”

Kushner said that after digging deep into the Israel-Palestine conflict, he determined that “not a whole lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years.”

He attributed this challenge to the fact that the conflict is a “very emotionally charged situation.”

Kushner pointed to a recent incident at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where two Israeli police officers were killed by three armed Israeli-Arabs. Kushner said the Israeli response of putting up metal detectors on the Temple Mount to “make sure people are safe” ended up inciting “a lot of tensions in the streets.”

He added that the Trump administration was able to quietly work with Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan to solve the metal detector issue. The administration’s efforts to subdue the tensions were aided by a noticeable lack of press leaks, he said.

“My point is that these things are very, very combustible, and very, very delicate in terms of how you can do, but I think the fact that all these conversations were all done in quiet and nothing leaked out … But I think we were able to keep things quiet. But I mean, any day something could happen,” he said.

The Trump administration has been inundated with leaks from within the White House and elsewhere in the federal government.

Newly appointed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was sworn in Monday to bring discipline to the Trump administration. While he understands leaks are inevitable, he has publicly expressed his disdain for leaks of classified information.

“I believe when you leak the kind of information that seems to be routinely leaked — high, high level of classification … I think it’s darn close to treason,” Kelly said in May on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“When he’s talking about treason, he’s talking about those types of leaks, not the personal score settling, the rumors, those types of leaks,” David Lapan, Kelly’s former Department of Homeland Security Spokesman, told Politico. “I’d also say as someone who has operated in and around Washington for a long time, he understands that’s just the nature and there will always be leaks. You’re not going to stop leaks but you should focus your attention on the ones that are serious and violate the law.”