It's not surprising that prominent voices from the Trump administration would try to defend the latest revelations surrounding Jared Kushner. It is surprising, though, that officials would jeopardize their credibility and stature with talking points that are literally unbelievable.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly appeared on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday, and gave this assessment of Kushner's reported outreach to Russia:
"It's both normal, in my opinion, and acceptable. Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us is a good thing.... [I]t's not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines to any government."
Kelly added on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he believes "any time you can open lines of communication with anyone, whether they're good friends or not so good friends, is a smart thing to do."
White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster embraced a similar tack.
McMaster, a decorated three-star Army general, was asked whether he would be concerned if an official on his National Security Council staff or elsewhere in the Trump administration sought a back-channel communications system with the Russian embassy or the Kremlin in Moscow.
"No," McMaster said. "We have back-channel communications with a number of countries. So, generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is to communicate in a discreet manner." He continued, "No, I would not be concerned about it."
Let's take a step back, because to take administration officials' rhetoric at face value is to ignore the seriousness of the allegations and every relevant detail that's already emerged.