Fox's Shep Smith slams Kushner for 'deceptive' downplaying of Russian election interference

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith on Tuesday denounced White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family Trump admin preparing to seize private land for border wall: report MORE for downplaying Russian election interference, calling it "disingenuous" and "deceptive."

“Jared Kushner’s diminishment of Russian interference is both disingenuous and deceptive," Smith said on his daily Fox News program. "The attack on our democracy involved much more than the purchase of a few Facebook ads."


"From the Mueller report we now know Russians made contact with multiple members of the Trump campaign, including Jared Kushner, attempting to change American policies and promote Russian objectives," Smith continued, before going on to list many of the details included in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's report on his investigation into Russian election interference and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE

Smith noted, among other things, that Russians conducted cyber espionage in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election and that a lawyer connected to the Kremlin promised Trump campaign associates "dirt" on former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter MORE

"They invaded our nation, in both the cyber and physical worlds," Smith said. "The U.S. indicted 26 Russian nationals and three Russian companies and the Mueller report makes crystal clear, and U.S. intelligence agencies concur, the Russians still are trying to damage our nation, interfere in our affairs, and influence our elections."

The criticism from Smith came just hours after Kushner contended that the investigations into Russia were more harmful to the United States than the Kremlin's efforts to interfere in its elections. 

"You look at what Russia did, you know, buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent and do it, and it’s a terrible thing," Kushner said at Time magazine's Time 100 Summit. "But I think the investigations and all the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads."

But Smith contested Kushner's characterization.

“Mueller wrote while there’s evidence of communications with the Trump campaign and Moscow, there was no coordination," Smith concluded, adding that Mueller's team interviewed Kushner about his contacts with Russians. "But on the matter of Russian interference, the Facebook ads Jared Kushner references were but a sliver of Russia’s attack on America.”

The Justice Department last week released a redacted version of Mueller's final report on his 22-month investigation into Russian interference. Mueller did not uncover evidence to conclude that a conspiracy between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign took place. 

But the report said that the 2016 Trump campaign knew that it would benefit from Russia's illegal efforts. The report also laid bare how Russians tried to sow discord among the American public on social media. 

"Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities," the report said.

Kushner said Tuesday that Trump campaign wasn't aware of Russia's activities.