Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and one of his closest advisers, will face a grilling by Senate investigators over possible ties between the U.S. president’s associates and Russian officials in advance of last November's election, The New York Times reported on Monday.
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The White House stated that Kushner is willing to meet with the investigators of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and that "he isn’t trying to hide anything.”
Kushner is the latest Trump aide to be mentioned in the context of meetings with Russian envoy to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The failure to disclose what went on in the talks with Kislyak forced the recent precipitous departure of former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Now there are calls for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign over virtually the same transgression: failure to adequately disclose meetings he held in July and September with Kislyak, Moscow’s man in Washington since 2008.
Earlier this month, the White House confirmed that Kushner had met with Kislyak and Flynn at Trump Tower in December.
Following that meeting, Kislyak had wanted to meet again with Kushner, but the latter sent a deputy instead, The New York Times reported. However, at the ambassador’s urging, Kushner did meet with a leading Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov. Gorkov is chief of Vnesheconombank, which was targeted by Obama administration sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
According to the Times report, Vnesheconomobank's supervisory board is controlled by members of Putin's government, including Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev, and has been used to fund Russian government pet projects, in addition to bailing out oligarch's in Putin's favor.
The White House said discussions between Kushner and Gorkov were inconsequential.
Ordinarily, meetings between politicians in Moscow, Washington or any other world capital would be a matter of routine, but sensitivities are running high in this case because of allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. election in favor of Trump, at the expense of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Earlier on Monday, The Washington Post announced that a new position for Kushner has been created: head of the White House Office of American Innovation.