The net is slowly closing on President Donald Trump and his administration. Last week was especially bad for Trump after FBI Director James Comey confirmed to Congress that the FBI had an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether Trump or his associates may have colluded with the Russian government.
This week has begun on an even worse note for our embattled President, as the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Trump’s potentially treasonous collusion with the Russian Government has announced that they will formally question Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law.
The New York Times reports that the White House was informed of the request to question Kushner this month. He will allegedly be asked questions regarding meetings he arranged with Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. One of these meetings involved a “sit-down” with the head of the state-owned development bank, Vnesheconombank.
The White House has so far only acknowledged one meeting between Kislyak and Kushner, which occurred in early December and was also attended by disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn, who resigned in February after it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his meetings with Kislyak.
However, Mr. Kislyak requested a second meeting in December with Kushner. Kushner himself did not attend, but one of his deputies did. Mr. Kushner then met with the head of Vnesheconombank, Sergey N. Gorkov, at Kislyak’s request.
Vnesheconombank was previously placed on the United States sanctions list after Russia annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine in 2014, creating a civil war that still rages today. The bank’s supervisory board is run by members of Putin’s government, including Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev. The bank has previously bailed out some of Putin’s favorite oligarchs and has also funded some of Putin’s pet projects, such as the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
A White House spokesperson commented that Kushner is willing to speak to Senate investigators and that, “He isn’t trying to hide anything and wants to be transparent.”
Kushner’s role in Trump’s transition team was to act as the chief conduit between the incoming administration and foreign governments. While there isn’t necessarily anything improper about Kushner’s meeting with Kislyak, his meeting with Gorkov is more suspicious. Gorkov is directly linked to Vladimir Putin and was trained at the Russian spy academy:
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) March 27, 2017
Kushner will be the closest person to the President who has been called to answer questions, and the only person currently serving in the White House.
If recent events are anything to go by, Kushner could well land in hot water for his meetings with Kislyak. Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were both publicly disgraced after their meetings with Kislyak became public knowledge. Flynn resigned and Sessions had to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s election hacking as a result.
Depending on how the questioning goes, Kushner might have to leave the White House. This could have dire consequences, especially considering Kushner is regarded as one of the more moderate voices in Trump’s team. It could also mean that Ivanka, Kushner’s wife, may choose to remove herself from her position as well.
Trump will be left alone with Steve Bannon and Vice President Mike Pence to continue concocting evil schemes until he is finally ousted. If Kushner is implicated in the Trump-Russia scandal, however, any speculations that he might moderate Trump’s worst impulses might well be worthless.