As the federal investigation into any alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia continues to expand, the president's son-in-law has now been named as a person of interest in the inquiry. Jared Kushner is being investigated, following The Washington Post's report days prior that a senior White House official close to the president is a "significant person of interest" in the probe. The Post clarified that officials never suggested, however, that Kushner was a "target" of the investigation or suspected of illegal activity.
Kushner, who was appointed by Trump to lead the newly created White House Office of American Innovation and has served as an adviser to the president in foreign policy decisions, has been under public scrutiny since it was revealed that he met with two Russian officials in 2016. While applying for top-secret U.S. government security clearance, he failed to report the meetings.
In December, Kushner was reportedly present at a meeting at Trump Tower with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The White House announced, after the previously undisclosed meeting was discovered, that it was an effort to "establish a line of communication" between the Trump Administration and the Russian government. Kushner later sent a deputy to attend a follow-up meeting with Kislyak.
Kushner also met with Sergey Gorkov that same month, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to chair the nation's biggest state-run bank and has graduated from Russian spy school. Gorkov's bank, VneshEconomBank, has been under U.S. sanctions since 2014, and his meeting with Kushner raised questions about whether Kushner may have been negotiating with the Russian banker to lift the sanctions in exchange for business dealings.
Both the White House and the Kremlin defended the meeting, stating that Kushner was acting as a Trump adviser and not a private investor with economic interests when he met with Gorkov. It's important to note that the meeting did not violate U.S. sanctions, but many found it suspicious that Kushner left this meeting, and his meeting with Kislyak, off of his application for top-secret security clearance. Kushner's representatives called the omissions an "error."
Specifically, the FBI is looking into Kushner's meetings with Russian officials to determine "the extent and nature" of his communications with the Russian government, The Post reported on Thursday. According to Kushner's lawyer, he has agreed to cooperate with Congress and provide information about the meetings if he is requested to do so as part of the investigation.