Mueller probing if Jared Kushner’s business talks affected US policy: Report
NBC News cited unnamed people familiar with Robert Mueller’s investigation, as well as witnesses who have been interviewed by his team.world Updated: Mar 03, 2018 23:35 IST
US investigators are reportedly looking into business meetings of the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner with foreigners during the transition period and if they shaped or informed the administration’s actions and policies.
From November to mid-January, between President Donald Trump’s election and inauguration, Kushner had met individuals from China, Qatar, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, probing Russian meddling in the elections, interviewed witnesses about those meetings and Kushner’s efforts to get funding for his debt-laden business, NBC News reported.
Kushner’s family business, Kushner Companies, has been looking for financing for its flagship property in Manhattan that is facing a $1.4 billion debt payable in 2019. It had been in talks with the Qatari government and a Chinese company.
Talks with the Qatari government, and a former prime minister, collapsed last spring, and the Trump administration shortly thereafter sided with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in their blockade of Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism.
NBC said top Qatari government officials believe the Trump administration’s backing of the blockade could be a form of retaliation engineered by Kushner who is also the president’s top adviser on West Asia and has developed close relationships with the Saudi and UAE royals.
Qatari officials recently visited the US and considered handing over some material to the Mueller team but decided against it as they felt satisfied with their meetings with US government officials, the NBC report said.
This new line of investigation would be a matter of concern for Kushner, whose meetings with Russians are already under scrutiny and who has seen his position as a power player in the Trump White House suffer a series of setbacks recently.
He was stripped off his top-secret security clearance last week that will deny him access to government secrets he required as a key advisor to the president, specially as the lead official on West Asia peace efforts and dealings with other foreign governments such as China and Mexico.