Federal and congressional investigators are examining why Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and husband to his daughter, Ivanka, met with Sergey N. Gorkov, a Russian banker who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The New York Times.
The Washington Post has previously reported that Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US, told his superiors in Moscow that Kushner proposed a backchannel line of communication between the Trump transition team and the Russian government in December.
Current and former Trump administration officials told The New York Times that they now believe that meeting in December could have been when Kushner tried to reach out to the Russians.
Kislyak facilitated Kushner’s meeting with Gorkov, who has not been known to act in a diplomatic capacity for Putin. But the timing of their meeting and Russia’s role in interfering with the US election has raised questions.
Former US intelligence officials have told Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand that if Kushner did try to establish a backchannel to Russia without going through the conventional US intelligence paths, it would be “off the map,” “explosive,” and “extremely dangerous.”
National security adviser H.R. McMaster said in a press conference Saturday that the US has backchannels with several countries, suggesting that the matter shouldn’t be cause for concern.
Trump campaigned on an openness toward improving relations with Putin, specifically in the areas of counterterrorism and ending the Syrian civil war. Sources close to the administration defended the meetings to the Times, citing those causes.
But the reports of the investigation veering into the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov may suggest that the investigators remain skeptical, or unsatisfied, with the answers the Trump administration has provided. The FBI and separate congressional committees are each conducting investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, as well as whether any Trump associates colluded with Russian officials.
Read the full article at the New York Times here >
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