The Senate Intelligence Committee wants to ask Jared Kushner about two meetings arranged with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York in December, as well as a meeting with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank, reports The New York Times.
Kushner, an adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign and in the White House, would be the closest person to the president to be questioned in the congressional investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
Members of the president-elect’s team routinely meet with Russians or other foreign officials. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Times that Kushner met with dozens of officials from foreign countries.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded Moscow orchestrated the hacking of Democratic Party groups during the campaign and released the stolen information to benefit Trump. Russia has denied the allegations.
At least four congressional committees are investigating possible Russian attempts to influence the vote and any ties between Moscow and Trump associates. FBI Director James Comey confirmed the agency’s investigation last week.
Hicks said Kushner, 36, was willing to speak to the Senate panel. “He isn’t trying to hide anything,” she was quoted as telling the Times.
Kushner arranged a meeting with Kislyak in early December that was also attended by Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired after misrepresenting his contacts with the ambassador.
The Times reported that later that month Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Kushner asked a deputy to attend. The Russian ambassador asked that Kushner meet with Sergei Gorkov, head of Vnesheconombank, which was also sanctioned by the European Union after Russian interference in Ukraine.
The news came on the same day it was announced Kushner would be heading the newly-created White House Office of American Innovation which will seek to overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector.
Trump is readying to announce the new office at a low point in his young administration, days after the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” imploded in the House of Representatives, revealing deep divides within GOP and fraying tensions at the White House, reports the Associated Press.
This effort has been developing since shortly after the inauguration, the official said. The group has been meeting since then and started talking to CEOs from various sectors about ways to make changes to federal programs.
Areas they hope to tackle include overhauling Veterans’ Affairs, improving workforce development and targeting opioid addiction.