It was reportedly Jared Kushner who directed Mike Flynn to call officials from Russia and other countries regarding an Israel-related UN Security Council resolution weeks before President Donald Trump took office, according to a slew of reports out Friday.
An unnamed individual referred to only as a “very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team” emerged in charging documents filed Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of Flynn’s plea deal for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
The Washington Post, NBC, Buzzfeed and Bloomberg’s Eli Lake spoke to sources who identified Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser as the “very senior member” who told Flynn to try to delay a vote on a resolution critical of Israeli settlement construction.
“Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote,” a person who was in the room with Flynn told Buzzfeed, adding that Kushner emphasized that the move “was a top priority for the President.”
Flynn, who took the call at the Trump’s transition team Washington, D.C. offices, also told the staff that “the President wants this done ASAP,” according to Buzzfeed’s source.
That tracks with what a former transition official told Bloomberg about Kushner ordering Flynn to ask every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the council to delay or oppose the resolution, which condemned Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as a violation of international law.
Trump and Kushner both have warm relationships with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who fervently opposed the resolution.
Flynn’s statement of offense says that he contacted Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, to make his request on Dec. 22, spoke to him about it again on Dec. 29, and subsequently lied about it in an interview with federal agents.
Kushner reportedly met with Mueller’s team in November for an interview that focused primarily on Flynn’s Russia contacts.
Former prosecutors told TPM that the generous terms of Flynn’s plea deal suggest he must have critical information about other Trump officials even closer to the center of power than he was. Kushner fits that bill.