Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner

Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981) is an American investor, real-estate developer, and newspaper publisher who is currently senior advisor to his father-in-lawDonald Trump, the President of the United States. Kushner is the elder son of real-estate developer Charles Kushner, and is married to Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter and advisor. He was chief executive officer of the real-estate holding and development company Kushner Companies, and of Observer Media, publisher of the New York Observer. He is the co-founder and part owner of Cadre, an online real-estate investment platform.

During the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, Kushner helped develop and run Trump's digital media strategy. On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named as a senior White House advisor. He consequently resigned as CEO of Kushner Companies, and as publisher of the Observer.

Kushner has said he had four meetings with Russians during the 2016 campaign and presidential transition, and says that none of those Russian contacts were improper. He works in the White House based on an interim security clearance, having yet to pass a comprehensive background investigation.

Russian investigation

Main articles: Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and Trump campaign–Russian meetings

To hold his position in the Trump administration, Kushner is required to obtain and keep a top-secret security clearance, which, among other things, has required him to fill out "Standard Form 86: Questionnaire for National Security Positions". Kushner's initial SF-86 form did not disclose any meetings with foreign government officials, and Kushner did not personally verify the correctness of the information on his form. As such, Kushner failed to disclose that he had met in December 2016 with Russian officials, including Ambassador Kislyak and Sergei Gorkov, chairman of a Russian government-owned bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB). Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has stated that Kushner met with Gorkov briefly as part of his role in the transition, and as a diplomatic conduit to the State Department. However, VEB has stated that Gorkov met with Kushner on a private matter concerning his family's real estate corporation, Kushner Companies, even though VEB has been under international sanctions since July 2014. In April 2017, it was reported that Kushner's lawyer has called the omission from his security clearance form an oversight. In July 2017, media reported that for his security clearance, Kushner had recently filed a revised version of the form disclosing his contact with foreign nationals, and that it was via this disclosure that government officials first learned of the June 2016 Trump campaign–Russian meeting and Kushner's role in it. Failure to disclose such contacts can cause revocation of a security clearance, while knowingly doing so can result in imprisonment.

In June 2016 an agent of Emin Agalarov reportedly offered Donald Trump Jr., Kushner's brother-in-law, compromising information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government if he met with a lawyer connected to the Kremlin. A meeting took place on June 9, 2016, and included Kushner, Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort, who was then chairman of the presidential campaign, who met with Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower. According to Rinat Akhmetshin, who was also present at the meeting, Veselnitskaya claimed to have evidence of "violations of Russian law by a Democratic donor", and that the "Russian lawyer described her findings at the meeting and left a document about them with Trump Jr. and the others". The Democratic National Committee cyber attacks were revealed later that week.

In December 2016, U.S. intelligence officials who were monitoring Kislyak reportedly overheard him relaying to Moscow a request from Kushner to establish a "secret and secure communications channel" with the Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities. Kislyak reportedly was "taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team".

In July 2017 Kushner appeared before both the House and Senate intelligence committees in closed session as part of their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He also released a public statement. In October 2017 the Senate Judiciary Committee requested numerous documents from Kushner. Kushner's attorneys gave the committee many documents on November 3, but the committee followed up on November 16 with a request for many additional documents it said had not been produced.

In early November 2017 Kushner was interviewed by investigators from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office. Reportedly the interview focused on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. On December 1 Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, as part of a plea bargain. Bloomberg reported that Kushner is most likely the "senior member of the Trump transition team," mentioned in Flynn's plea documents, who is said to have ordered Flynn to contact Russia.