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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, February 18, 2018

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What does Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner know, that America doesn't? Will the FBI untangle the Russia mystery?

The adviser was "someone close to the president"

Share on Facebook May 23, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 454

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - Days after former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed as the special counsel to head the investigation into the alleged links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia - a new development left many curious.> BNN

Even though the Capitol has remained unusually silent after Trump left a string of controversies and an even longer list of unanswered questions back home and set out on his first foreign trip as the President - there’s been a flurry of activity and accusations. 

After news broke that investigators had identified a “significant person of interest” in the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the election - names were thrown around and many speculated officials in Trump’s inner circle could be the elusive missing link. 

Citing an unnamed source, The Washington Post confirmed in a report that the adviser was “someone close to the president.”

The report pointed out that so far, three senior officials had acknowledged contacts with Russian officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; the attorney-general Jeff Sessions; and the President’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.

Soon after the report was published, New York magazine went a step further, and one of the magazine’s contributor, Yashar Ali tweeted that Kushner, who holds a wide profile within the Trump administration was indeed the person of interest being sought in the probe. 

The FBI probe that began last summer is soon engulfing those close to the President, as America continues to seek answers in a case that has shook the very core of American politics ever since Trump’s victory in the contentious Presidential election in November last year. 

Meanwhile, reports stated that Kushner is known to have held a meeting with Sergey Kislyak, the controversial Russian ambassador to the U.S., a month after the election.

The meeting was also reportedly attended by Michael Flynn who held the post of Trump’s National Security Adviser albeit briefly.

Kushner is also said to have met Sergei Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, a state-owned bank that was subject to American sanctions after the Russian annexation of Crimea. 

Post the meeting, a White House spokeswoman had stated that the meeting lasted half an hour and was a routine diplomatic encounter by Kushner, on behalf of a presidential transition team establishing contacts with foreign governments and officials.

Often seen as the President’s closest senior advisers, Kushner, who is married to the president’s daughter Ivanka, was said to have been in favour of firing former FBI Director James Comey.

Explaining the drama that engulfed the White House days before Trump’s departure to Saudi Arabia, the report in The New York Times stated that when the deputy attorney-general, Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of Mueller as a special counsel in the investigation, Trump’s advisers urged for a calm response - however, Kushner urged him to fight back.

Further, a report in Reuters pointed out that the White House is now reviewing Mueller’s background and is examining ethics rules that may restrict the investigation. 

It was also revealed that the law firm that Mueller worked at also represents Kushner. 

The same firm also represents Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager, who stirred up controversy early this year. 

Experts pointed out that under rules barring government lawyers from investigating recent former clients, he could technically be barred from investigating Kushner.

Meanwhile, Kushner is part of President Trump’s entourage on his current trip to the Middle East and Europe where he is supposed to play a crucial role.

Kushner and longtime business lawyer Jason Greenblatt have been handed the assignment of charting the course toward a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians by Trump.

Earlier this year, Kushner was awarded his own White House office that gave him sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy. 

As head of the White House Office of American Innovation, Kushner is tasked with generating ideas that would help the government become more lean and effective. 

Kushner’s agenda would also be to infuse fresh thinking into Washington and in the role he would report directly to Trump.

His team, that includes Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives; Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives; Dina Powell, senior counselor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser; and Andrew Bremberg, director of the Domestic Policy Council, planned to focus attention on reimagining Veterans Affairs, modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency, remodeling workforce-training programs.

The President’s son-in-law already drives decisions on foreign and domestic policy, presidential personnel, along with serving as his lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.

Trump’s first foreign trip has managed to steal some focus away from the investigation, in what experts say was the President’s agenda in the first place - to score a big international victory to unburden himself from some of the flak he has drawn over the last two weeks - that proved to be his most controversial ones ever since he came to power. 

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