NEW YORK — The Senate Intelligence Committee requires speaking directly to Kushner regarding his connections with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak throughout the presidential transition.
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and senior partner had proposed to witness before the Senate intelligence committee about its Russia probe, the White House, and Senate committee verified Tuesday.
The Senate committee notified the White House Counsel’s Office earlier this month that they wanted to interview Kushner on “meetings he organized with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, according to the administration executives.” The agreements reportedly took place when the presidential transition period took place.
“Mr. Kushner will surely not be the last person the board calls to give a statement, but we require him to be able to present explanations to key questions that have arisen in our examination,” stated a report from the Senate intelligence committee released on Tuesday.
The White House explained the plans of one of those meetings in Trump Tower as a way of preparing “a more open line of communication in the future.” Michael Flynn, the retired national security adviser who resigned over contact with Russian executives since Trump took office, was also at that conference.
The council has not made a judgment on timing for Kushner’s interview, but are asking documents and other “information needed to ensure that the meeting is productive for all sides.” When asked if the interrogation would occur in open or closed gathering, a Senate source that those circumstances had not established yet.
Kushner was not first to make a proposal along these lines. Last week, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign director, also enlisted, through his attorney, to be challenged in a continuing Russia inquiry being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee.
As the Russia question continues to pick up momentum, more scrutiny will emphasize the interplay between Trump transition team and administration divisions and Russian communications. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ encounters with Kislyak and the resulting uproar led Sessions to recuse himself from any probes into the 2016 election.
The FBI is further reviewing any relations between Trump’s orbit and Russia; Director James Comey confirmed in an open discussion of the House Intelligence Committee last week.
Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, published Manafort’s offer to witness on Friday morning and urged others with knowledge related to the investigation to missionary to do the same.
It is unclear if Kushner made the same proposition to the House Intelligence Board.
“We are in early steps of assembling our witness list,” a committee member reported when asked if the House Intelligence Committee was also interested in challenging Kushner.
When enquired about the same subject, a senior staff with knowledge said that “hasn’t been determined yet.”
The House Intelligence Committee is returning from of a week of drama, where tensions between members became known and raised issues about the body’s capability to investigate the problem. Nunes offended members and broke with protocol last week while he notified the reporter and the White House saying he had seen new data that hinted the Trump team was under surveillance, without first advising associate committee members.
News broke Tuesday morning that Nunes arrived on White House grounds the day before making his statement. Nunes has said, however, that the supplementary information he surveyed and examined last week is irrelevant to the Russia inquiry.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have endeavored to block themselves from the House committee’s tension, holding that their committee is yet in a stable position to maintain the investigation.
“It was awful. Really truly awful,”, a Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, on the Senate Intelligence panel. It was frightening to see that sort of action, you know, and I’m certain in saying that won’t appear in the Senate. I would be utterly astounded if that would occur in the Senate. It won’t. We’ve got good management, we’ve got a moderator and a ranking member acting collectively.”
Republicans including Sen. John McCain also fostered disbelief over the House’s expertise to handle the investigation, while honoring their own efforts in the Senate. McCain, however, has gone a step further than his many of his associates in requesting for a picked organization or objective commission to take over the inquiry.
“The extent of the investigation is more thorough than just the intelligence committee even though I think the intelligence committee is doing an excellent job,” McCain stated last week.