Trump’s son-in-law to be questioned over Russia ties

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Washington, March 27 (IANS) US Senate investigators plan to question US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, officials here said.

The White House Counsel’s Office was informed that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wanted to question Kushner about meetings he arranged with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, according to the government officials.

The meetings included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank, reported the New York Times on Monday.

Till now, the White House had acknowledged only an early December meeting between Kislyak and Kushner, which occurred at Trump Tower and was also attended by former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn.

Later that month, though, Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Kushner asked a deputy to attend in his stead, officials said.

At Kislyak’s request, Kushner later met Sergey N. Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which drew sanctions from the Obama administration after Russia under President Vladimir V. Putin annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.

White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that part of Kushner’s role, as Trump’s close adviser during the campaign and the transition, was to serve as a chief conduit to foreign governments and officials, and he met dozens of officials from a wide range of countries.

Kushner is the person closest to President Trump to be caught up in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe so far, according to the New York Times report.

The news that he will be interviewed comes three days after Trump associates Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page sent letters to the House Intelligence Committee volunteering to be interviewed as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the daily reported.

Stone, Manafort, and Page — Trump’s former campaign adviser, former campaign chairman, and foreign policy adviser, respectively — have all denied that they helped facilitate any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the election.

The inquiry into Kushner’s dealings with Ambassador Kislyak may further complicate Trump’s efforts to move past the Russia situation.

Last week, FBI Director James Comey confirmed in testimony to the Congress that his agency had begun a counter-intelligence investigation into Russian interference and whether any associates of Trump might have colluded with the Russian government.

–IANS

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