By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to interview President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as part of its investigation into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials.Rebecca Glover Watkins, a spokeswoman for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, confirmed that Kushner has been called. Kushner, an adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign and in the White House, would be the closest person to the president to be questioned in the congressional investigations into Russia's role in the 2016 election.At least four congressional committees are probing possible Russian attempts to influence the vote and any ties between Moscow and Trump associates. FBI Director James Comey confirmed the agency's investigation last week.A White House official told Reuters that Kushner has volunteered to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee but has not received confirmation.
The official said Kushner was the main point of contact with foreign governments and officials during the presidential campaign and transition. Members of a president-elect's team routinely meet with Russians or other foreign officials. The Senate panel wants to ask Kushner about two meetings arranged with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York in December, as well as a meeting with the head of Russia's state-owned development bank.
The bank, Vnesheconombank, was among the Russian banks sanctioned by the Obama administration in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea.The New York Times first reported the committee's request and details of the meetings with the Russians. Watkins confirmed the report. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded Moscow orchestrated the hacking of Democratic Party groups during the campaign and released the stolen information to benefit Trump. Russia has denied the allegations.
Kushner arranged a meeting with Kislyak in early December that was also attended by Trump's short-lived national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired after misrepresenting his contacts with the ambassador.Later that month, the Times reported, Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Kushner asked a deputy to attend. The Russian ambassador asked that Kushner meet with Sergei Gorkov, head of Vnesheconombank, which was also sanctioned by the European Union after Russian interference in Ukraine.The New York Times first reported the committee's request and details of the meetings with the Russians. Watkins confirmed the report. (Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2017 21:55:31 IST