Jared Kushner has only just been unveiled as his father-in-law’s choice to lead a new “SWAT team” to retool federal bureaucracy into a fine-tuned Trump machine. This Monday also brings some bad news for Kushner, as the New York Times reveals that he shall be questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee during their investigation into Trump-Russian ties. This probe will piggyback on the House Intel Committee’s investigation, which FBI Director James Comey opened last week by confirming that his agency is also formally investigating links between the Kremlin and members of the Trump campaign.
The Senate wants to learn more about Kushner’s discussions with (and related to) Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. One previously disclosed Dec. 2016 meeting took place at Trump Tower with Michael Flynn in attendance. Flynn, of course, resigned as national security advisor after he lied (to the FBI and Mike Pence) about discussing sanctions with Kislyak. In early March, the White House publicized Kushner’s discussion with Kislyak in an effort to spare him from the same layer of suspicion that dogged both Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Yet that wasn’t enough to ward off a Senate interview, since there’s another meeting that sparked Senate curiosity:
The meetings 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.
Kushner’s original meeting with Kislyak was said to be an introductory one to open lines of communication with the Trump administration. However, the second meeting mentioned above looks a little more …. substantial. That is, Kushner met with the head of a bank that was placed under sanctions under the Obama administration, and naturally, the Senate probably wants to know if Kushner pulled a Michael Flynn. In response to the New York Times, White House spokesperson Hope Hicks said that Kushner considered these meeting to be so “inconsequential” that he never disclosed them to anyone.
A short while after this report dropped, CNN reported that Kushner has volunteered to speak with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russia. That’ll save them the trouble of a subpoena (which is also the case for Paul Manafort, who volunteered late last week to testify to the House Intel Committtee), and while there’s no obvious indication of any wrongdoing by Kushner, this will certainly be more annoying to him than those irate neighbors that he’s currently dealing with in D.C.