Kushner says he will co-operate, after FBI investigation of his Russia meetings is revealed
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is willing to co-operate with federal investigators looking into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, his attorney said Thursday, after reports emerged that the FBI was investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russian officials.
“Mr Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry,” a statement from attorney Jamie Gorelick said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the House oversight committee asked the FBI to turn over more documents about former Director James Comey’s interactions with the White House and Justice Department, including materials dating back nearly four years to the Obama administration.
The FBI and the oversight committee — as well as several other congressional panels — are looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. Trump fired Comey May 9 amid questions about the FBI’s investigation, which is now being overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director.
NBC News and The Washington Post first reported that the FBI’s ongoing investigation includes a look at Kushner, which would place the probe inside the White House.
Kushner, a key White House adviser, had meetings late last year with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.
The Post story cited anonymous “people familiar with the investigation,” who said the FBI investigation does not mean that Kushner is suspected of a crime. NBC noted that Kushner was not considered to be in the same category as either former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort or sacked national security advisor Michael Flynn, who are considered “subjects” of the probe.
Gorkov is chairman of VneshEconomBank, a state bank under US sanctions since July 2014.
Kushner initially failed to declare the meetings on forms to obtain a security clearance to serve in the White House. His lawyer later said it was a mistake, telling the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he would amend the forms.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is the only current White House official known to be considered a key figure in the probe, which is targeting other members of Trump’s campaign team.
Comey’s firing, together with Trump’s reported repeated efforts to persuade senior politicians, justice and intelligence officials to help push back against the probe, have brought accusations that he is obstructing the investigation.
Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, amid accusations from US intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a sweeping campaign to tilt the vote in the Republican’s favor.
The president last week declared himself the victim of the “greatest witch hunt” in American political history.
This week, former CIA director John Brennan revealed that intelligence chiefs had been looking into suspicious contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials since mid-2016.
Earlier Thursday, House oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz told acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that he wants records of Comey’s contacts with the White House and Justice Department dating to September 2013, when Comey was sworn in as FBI director under President Barack Obama.
In a letter to McCabe, Chaffetz said he is seeking to review Comey’s memos and other written materials so he can “better understand” Comey’s communications with the White House and attorney general’s office.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse