The congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election want to ask Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, whether he sought Russian financing for his family’s Manhattan tower when he met with the CEO of a state-owned Russian bank in December, NBC News reported Monday.
Two anonymous congressional sources told NBC that the committees wanted to question Kushner on whether his alleged attempts to set up a secret backchannel with the Russian government had anything to do with seeking financing for his family’s luxury tower at 666 5th Ave., which has been bleeding money since Kushner bought it in 2007.
No date has been set for Kushner to testify before either the House or Senate Intelligence Committees, but his lawyer has repeatedly said Kushner is willing to speak with lawmakers about his meetings with Russian officials.
Kushner resigned from running his family’s real estate company when he took an official White House job, but did not divest from it. A Kushner Companies spokesperson declined to comment when asked directly by NBC whether the purpose of the alleged back channel to Moscow was to look for investors for the tower.
Kushner’s White House spokesperson responded to the same inquiry by forwarding NBC a previous statement from White House spokesperson Hope Hicks, who said that in the December meeting with Vnesheconombank CEO Sergey Gorkov, Kushner “was acting in his capacity as a transition official and had many similar discussions with foreign representatives after the election.”
Gorkov has said in a statement, however, that he met with Kushner in his capacity as the then-chief executive of his family’s real estate business, Kushner Companies.
Russia’s Vnesheconombank is wholly owned by the Russian government and is currently under strict U.S. sanctions, banned from doing most forms of business in the United States. Gorkov is also a graduate of Russia’s Academy of the Federal Security Service, which the New York Times dubs a “spy school.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee also wants to question Kushner about meetings he set up, and in some cases attended, with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Kushner failed to disclose the meetings with Gorkov or Kislyak when he applied for, and received, a top secret security clearance. Citing the ongoing investigation into his meetings with Russian officials, some Democratic lawmakers have asked the FBI to revoke Kushner’s security clearance.
Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.