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Jared Kushner is now in the crosshairs of the Trump-Russia probe

Monday - 27/03/2017 09:33
Mr. Kushner has volunteered to be interviewed as part of the committee’s investigation into the Russian activities surrounding the 2016 election
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee will question President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as part of its investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether any collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

“Mr. Kushner has volunteered to be interviewed as part of the committee’s investigation into the Russian activities surrounding the 2016 election," Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the committee's chairman and vice chairman, respectively, told The New York Times in a statement.

The questions will center on Kushner's meeting with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, in December at Trump Tower with Gen. Michael Flynn, according to the Times. Kushner, a White House senior adviser will also be asked about a previously undisclosed meeting he had in December with the head of Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank, which was sanctioned by President Barack Obama after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

A White House official told Business Insider that Kushner took the meetings as part of his role as "the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials."

"Throughout the campaign and transition, Jared Kushner served as the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials," the official said. "Given this role, he has volunteered to speak with Chairman Burr’s Committee, but has not yet received confirmation."

Kushner's meeting with Vnesheconombank's chief, Sergey N. Gorkov, came at the request of Kislyak, White House spokesperson Hope Hicks told the Times. Kislyak delivered the message to Kushner via Avrahm Berkowitz, an aide who Kushner sent to meet with Kislyak in his place.

At the time, Kushner was trying to find investors for a Fifth Avenue office building in Manhattan that is set to be heavily financed by Anbang Insurance Group, a firm with ties to the Chinese government. Hope Hicks told the Times that the "Kushner Tower" project wasn't discussed during his meeting with Gorkov.

Kushner is the closest person to Trump to be swept up in either the Senate or the House Intelligence Committees' probes so far. 

At least five other Trump associates — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, early Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, early foreign policy adviser Carter Page, and the campaign's national security representative at the Republican National Convention, JD Gordon — have been asked to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and preserve any relevant documents, about contact they may have made with Russians during the election.

All are now reported to have met with Kislyak in the latter half of 2016 as Russia was attempting to sway the outcome of the election in Trump's favor.

Flynn resigned as national security adviser after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Department of Justice's Russia-related investigations after the Washington Post reported that he met with Kislyak twice last year and failed to disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearing.

On Friday, Stone, Page, and Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, sent letters to the House Intelligence Committee volunteering to be interviewed as part of that committee's investigation into Russia's election interference.

While Stone, Manafort, and Page all have connections to Russia, they have all denied that they helped facilitate any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the election.

The FBI is investigating the Russian interference separately from Congress, FBI Director James Comey confirmed last week. The investigation  has been examining whether members of Trump's campaign team colluded with Russian officials to undermine Hillary Clinton .

Source: Business Insider:

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