Memorial Day weekend brought a flurry of news about Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, close adviser to Trump and Secretary of Everything, and his ties to the Russia scandal. In recent days we’ve learned that Kushner is facing scrutiny from the FBI as he becomes a major focus of the Russia investigation, and it was also reported that Kushner held a series of of previously undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Gorkov, the head of the Russian bank Vnesheconombank who is also close to Vladimir Putin. Kushner’s meetings took place at Trump Tower where Kushner also suggested setting up a private line of communication between the Trump transition team and Russia.
Despite all of this, Kushner remains in the White House with unfiltered access to the President. That cannot continue, he must step down immediately.
Here are the three key takeaways from the ongoing scandal as they relate to Jared Kushner:
1. Kushner is a Focus of the Russia Investigation
· “Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.” [The Washington Post, 5/25/17]
2. Kushner Wanted a Secret Communications Channel with Russia
· “Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials.” [The Washington Post, 5/26/17]
3. Kushner Had 3 Previously Undisclosed Contacts with Sergey Kislyak
· “U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former U.S. officials told Reuters. Those contacts included two phone calls between April and November last year, two of the sources said. By early this year, Kushner had become a focus of the FBI investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, said two other sources – one current and one former law enforcement official.” [Reuters, 5/27/17]
Published: May 30, 2017