The ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign’s Russian connection have reached the president’s own family.
The Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate wants to question Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close advisor Jared Kushner about his contacts with Russian officials, according to US media reports.
The White House was informed earlier this month that the committee intends to question Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
The meetings, which took place during the transition, included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank, the New York Times reports.
Until now, the White House had acknowledged only one meeting between Kislyak and Kushner, which took place in New York in early December and was also attended by Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s first national security advisor in the first few weeks of the new administration.
Later, though, Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which Washington placed on its sanctions list after Russia annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.
Kushner’s planned interview by Senate investigators is part of a broader attempt to find out about Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump camp somehow colluded with the Russians to undermine the presidential campaign of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Last week, FBI Director James Comey for the first time publicly acknowledge that his agency is leading an active investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Part of Kushner’s role during the campaign and the transition was to serve as a chief conduit to foreign governments and officials, a White House spokeswoman said.
Kushner has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee because he “wants to be transparent”, the spokeswoman said.
It was not immediately clear when Kushner would appear before the Senate panel. The committee is scheduled to hold its first open hearing on its Russia investigation on Thursday.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is part of the president’s innermost circle and one of his most trusted advisors.
The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive is said to influence foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel.
He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead advisor on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.
The revelation about Kushner’s forthcoming questioning by Senate investigators comes as the White House was getting ready to announce a new office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy.
The task of the “White House Office of American Innovation”, to be led by Kushner, is to help to fulfill key Trump campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.
Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.