Until the 2016 election, Jared Kushner had mostly stayed out of the spotlight. The New York real estate developer and husband of first daughter Ivanka Trump was an integral part of the Trump campaign in 2016. And once President Trump reached the Oval Office, Kushner was appointed senior adviser to the president.
As part of his White House role, Kushner has an array of responsibilities: Brokering peace in the Middle East, reforming the criminal justice system and veteran care, tackling the opioid crisis, and acting as the primary point of contact for officials from more than two dozen countries. But everything he's done has been in the background.
However, his rather private existence was shaken when reports came out on May 25 that Kushner was a central person of interest in the FBI investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, just like former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Being a person of interest doesn't mean the FBI has evidence that Kushner committed a criminal offense. It just means that the agency is interested in talking with him in connection to the Trump-Russia probe. At the moment there are no plans to charge him for a crime. But, as a key person in both the congressional and federal inquiries, questions have been raised as to why Kushner met with certain Russian figures in the midst of the presidential transition.
At the time, Trump was openly feuding with intelligence agencies because they had concluded Russia had intervened in the 2016 presidential election. Kushner's meetings open the door to ask whether he discussed this issue with Russian officials and whether he was aware of such intervention. And if he did, that means that a White House official who the president considers a confidant could potentially be connected to a narrative where a foreign power intervened in the U.S. democratic process.
The Trump-Russia investigation won't end anytime soon, and it's likely Kushner's name will keep popping up. Ahead, we list everything that's happened with the president's son-in-law in relation to Russia and the Trump campaign. We'll continue to update this story as more developments come to light.
Timeline Of Events
June 15, 2017:
The Washington Post reports special counsel Robert Mueler III is investigating Kushner's business and financial dealings as part of the inquiry into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
June 1, 2017:
Sergey Gorkov's bank, Vnesheconombank, says the meeting between him and Kushner was for business purposes. This directly contradicts the White House, which said the president's son-in-law secretly met Gorkov for diplomatic reasons.
May 30, 2017:
May 26, 2017:
The Washington Post reports Kushner and ambassador Sergey Kislyak talked about possibly setting up a "backchannel" between Trump’s transition team and Russia. According to communications between Kislyak and Russian officials that were intercepted by intelligence agencies, the conversation about this secure and secret line happened during a meeting in early December at Trump Tower.
It's not unusual for administrations, campaigns, and transition teams to hold conversations with foreign leaders. However, it is highly unusual for a member of a transition team to request a secure and secret line to communicate with Russia and for Russian officials to help set it up.
May 25, 2017:
Gorkov's bank, Vnesheconombank, is owned by the Russian government and was put under U.S. sanctions after the Crimea annexation. The financial institution has also reportedly been used to plant Russian spies in U.S. soil. In 2016, a Russian operative was caught pretending to be employed in the bank's New York City branch and pled guilty to "conspiring to act in the United States as an agent of the Russian Federation, without providing prior notice to the Attorney General."
April 6, 2017:
The New York Times reports Kushner failed to disclose his meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov in his top-secret security clearance forms. Kushner's attorney says the president son-in-law later provided this information.
March 27, 2017:
The story also mentions that the president's son-in-law later met with Gorkov.
At some point after their initial meeting, Russian Ambassador Kislyak wants to meet again with the president's son-in-law, but Kushner sends Avrahm Berkowitz, a White House aide, to the meeting in his place. Kislyak tells Berkowitz that he wants Kushner to meet with Gorkov.
December 1 or 2, 2016:
Russian billionaire tech investor Yuri Milner invests in Kushner's real estate startup Cadre, a venture he launched with his brother, Joshua Kushner.