Trump's son-in-law volunteers to answer questions about Russia meetings
Jared Kushner met with U.S.-sanctioned Russian bank during election
U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law has volunteered to answer questions before the Senate intelligence committee about arranging meetings with the Russian ambassador and other officials, the White House confirmed Monday.
Jared Kushner has agreed to speak to the committee, which is conducting an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, including whether there are any ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin, the White House said.
Kushner is the fourth Trump associate to offer to be interviewed by the congressional committees looking into the murky Russia ties.
Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, Trump adviser Carter Page and Trump associate Roger Stone last week volunteered to speak to the committee as well.
Met with U.S.-sanctioned Russian bank
A Russian bank under U.S. economic sanctions over Russia's incursion into Ukraine disclosed Monday that its executives had met Kushner during the 2016 election campaign.
Vnesheconombank or VEB said in Monday's statement carried by state RIA Novosti news agency that it met with Kushner last year as part of "road show" discussions with representatives of leading financial institutions in Europe, Asia and the United States. It said the meetings focused on global development banks' strategies and perspective sectors. VEB provided no further details.
Simply meeting with representatives of a U.S.-sanctioned entity is not a violation of sanctions or against the law.
White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the meetings.
The White House said Kushner was "doing his job" by reaching out to foreign officials.
'Part of his role'
White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said Monday that there was nothing "nefarious" about Kushner's contacts with foreign leaders during the campaign and transition since it was the job he was tasked to do.
Spicer said that "based on the media frenzy" surrounding contacts Trump associates have made with Russian officials in particular, Kushner "volunteered" to be interviewed by the Senate committee about arranging meetings with the Russian ambassador and other officials.
Spicer said "that was part of [Kushner's] role and he executed it completely as he was supposed to."
The White House noted that throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and transition Kushner served as the main contact with foreign governments and officials. Trump associates' meetings with the Russian ambassador during the transition period have come under question, in part because those who met with him were not immediately forthcoming about the meetings.
It was not immediately clear when or how the Senate questioning would take place or whether Kushner would be under oath.
"Mr. Kushner will certainly not be the last person the committee calls to give testimony, but we expect him to be able to provide answers to key questions that have arisen in our inquiry," the committee's chairman, Republican Senator Richard Burr, and Democratic Senator Mark Warner, said in a joint statement.
Lawmakers announced investigations into possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian officials and whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
In a House intelligence hearing March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into these matters since late July.
With files from Reuters