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 US Senate intends to question President Trump’s son-in-law Kushner over meetings with Russian officials, - NYT

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee plans to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak and previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.

As reported by Censor.NET citing The New York Times, the questioning is planned to be held as part of the broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin.

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The White House Counsel's Office was informed this month that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wanted to question Mr. Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, according to the government officials. The meetings, which took place during the transition, included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia's state-owned development bank.

Until now, the White House had acknowledged only an early December meeting between Mr. Kislyak and Mr. Kushner, which occurred at Trump Tower and was also attended by Michael T. Flynn, who would briefly serve as the national security adviser.

Later that month, though, Mr. Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Mr. Kushner asked a deputy to attend in his stead, officials said. At Mr. Kislyak's request, Mr. Kushner later met with Sergey N. Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which the United States placed on its sanctions list after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.

A White House spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, confirmed those meetings, saying in an interview that nothing of consequence was discussed and that they went nowhere. Mr. Gorkov, who previously served as deputy chairman of the board at Sberbank, Russia's largest state-owned bank, could not be reached for comment.

Read more: FBI publicly reaffirms probe into US election meddling

The Senate panel's decision to question Mr. Kushner would make him the closest person to the president to be called upon in any of the investigations, and the only one currently serving in the White House. The officials who initially described that Senate inquiry to The New York Times did so on the condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about Mr. Trump's son-in-law.

There are no indications that Mr. Kushner is a focus of its investigation, and Ms. Hicks said he had not been questioned by the bureau.

Mr. Kislyak's contacts with Trump administration officials have proved problematic: Mr. Flynn was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the conversations he had with the Russian envoy, claiming he had not discussed the sanctions against Russia when communications intercepts showed he had.

Read more: FBI looking into possible communication between Russian Alfa-bank and Trump's company, - CNN

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from any Russian inquiries led by the Justice Department after he failed to disclose at his Senate confirmation hearing that he had met with Mr. Kislyak during the campaign.

The meetings Mr. Kushner arranged with Mr. Kislyak all took place in December, during the transition, Ms. Hicks said. Mr. Kushner attended the initial meeting with Mr. Kislyak to explore whether a channel could be set up between the Russian government and the incoming administration to improve relations between the United States and Russia, Ms. Hicks said. They also discussed how the United States and Russia could cooperate on issues in the Middle East, an area Mr. Kushner has been deputized to take the lead on, she said.

Ms. Hicks said that Mr. Trump had authorized Mr. Kushner to have meetings with foreign officials that he felt made sense, and to report back to him if those meetings produced anything of note. She said that because in Mr. Kushner's view the meetings were inconsequential, it did not occur to him to mention them to senior staff members earlier.
 
 
 
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