Jared Kushner, a senior White House aide and the president’s son-in-law, was questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators earlier this month, Fox News confirmed.
Kushner reportedly was questioned about a meeting he had with a Russian ambassador and beleaguered former national security adviser Michael Flynn in December 2016.
Earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein both called on Kushner to provide additional documents to the committee regarding their Russia probe and accused him of handing over “incomplete” information.
From his trips to the Middle East and his leading of a little-known White House innovation group, Kushner has certainly been involved in many aspects of President Trump’s administration. But he’s also wrapped up in the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the very election that got his father-in-law elected.
Here’s a look at how Kushner is involved in the administration and the Russia investigations.
Kushner married Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, in October 2009 at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
The pair have three children together.
Together, Kushner and Ivanka Trump are estimated to be worth at least $240 million, with their holdings possibly exceeding $740 million, a March financial report from the White House revealed.
Kushner was a major contributor to Democratic politicians prior to his father-in-law’s foray into politics.
When he was still president-elect, Trump named Kushner a senior adviser to the president. His role, according to a press release, was to “work closely with” Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus, then the White House chief strategist and chief of staff, respectively. Kushner’s role also tasked him with executing Trump’s agenda.
Kushner “has been incredibly successful, in both business and now politics. He will be an invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda, putting the American people first,” Trump said.
Kushner was not expected to take a salary, the Washington Post reported at the time. He did, however, receive top security clearance.
Kushner’s appointment to such a high-level position in the White House raised questions about the country’s nepotism laws, which prohibit public officials from hiring family members for positions or offices which they oversee.
Son-in-law is considered a “relative” by the 1967 federal anti-nepotism law.
Getting down to business
Trump tapped Kushner to lead his the newly-created Office of American Innovation on March 27.
The office’s aim was to fulfill one of Trump’s campaign promises: to run the federal government more like a business, as it will make recommendations on how to improve government operations.
Aside from government innovation, Kushner has acted as a sort of “shadow secretary of state” in the Trump administration, a source told Politico in February.
For starters, he has been tasked with brokering peace in the Middle East and running point on peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump said to Kushner an event just prior to his inauguration.
In April, Kushner traveled to Iraq with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford. He went to witness the situation in Iraq for himself and to show support for Baghdad, White House officials said at the time.
He also traveled to Saudi Arabia in October, a trip that was not announced beforehand.
Kushner attended and “helped plan and oversee” Trump’s first foreign trip as president in May, according to the White House.
Internally, Kushner has reportedly played a role in administrative efforts — including the removal of certain officials.
Along with Vice President Mike Pence, Kushner reportedly supported and pushed for the firing of FBI Director James Comey in May.
But Kushner also had a hand in the removal of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from Trump’s White House transition team, according to the New York Times. Kushner, too, was also the catalyst behind the ousting of former Michigan Rep. Mike Rodgers and lobbyist Matthew Freedman, who had been handling national security for the transition team, the Times reported.
Kushner was said to be involved in a little-known internal policy shop with Bannon, called the Strategic Initiatives Group.
The group’s goal was to guide Trump through the unfamiliar in his job as well as connect the White House to industry, the Daily Beast reported in January. However, the White House denied the existence of such a so-called internal think tank.
Kushner held meetings in December 2016 with a Russian financial official as well as the Russian ambassador which are being investigated by the FBI, according to the Washington Post. However, the probe doesn’t necessarily mean that the FBI thinks Kushner has done anything wrong.
As the FBI continues its investigation into possible Russian collusion into the 2016 investigation, Kushner’s own dealings and conversations with government officials have made him a “person of interest.” But he is also considered to be in a different category in the investigation than two former Trump officials – former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Kushner has already met with Senate investigators and contended that he did not have “improper contacts” with Russian officials.
He said he had four contacts with Russians during the campaign – including the controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer that included Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son.
Of that meeting – which was set up on the claim that the attorney had damaging information regarding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – Kushner said he arrived late. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was talking about the ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children when Kushner arrived to the meeting, he said.
“Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for 10 or so minutes and wrote, ‘Can you pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting,’” Kushner said.
But the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Kushner wasn’t totally forthcoming with the panel’s probe. They have requested that he turn over emails sent to him pertaining to WikiLeaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Kushner’s lawyer saying the collection of documents he has provided the committee is “incomplete.” The committee gave Kushner a Nov. 27 deadline to provide the additional documents, including the emails and Kushner’s security clearance form that originally omitted certain contacts with Russian officials.
“Mr. Kushner and we have been responsive to all requests. We provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner’s calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request,” his attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement.
“We also informed the committee we will be open to responding to any additional requests and that we will continue to work with White House Counsel for any responsive documents from after the inauguration. We have been in a dialogue with the committee and will continue to do so as part of Mr. Kushner’s voluntary cooperation with relevant bi-partisan inquiries.”
The committee also asked for the additional documents related to Flynn, detailing a long list of search terms, and rebuffed Kushner’s lawyer’s arguments that his security clearance is confidential and unavailable because it has been submitted to the FBI for review.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.