Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday hired outside counsel in Russia probe
Mueller is reportedly investigating Trump for obstruction of justice
The business dealings of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and trusted aide Jared Kushner are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing officials familiar with the matter.
The news comes as the Justice Department continues its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump administration’s potential ties to Russia. The Washington Post report suggests that scrutiny has been folded into the special counsel office and includes Kushner’s business dealings, though it offers no details on what that scrutiny is.
The interest in Kushner’s activities by the special counsel’s office is no more extensive than the FBI’s interest in his multiple roles on both the Trump campaign and transition team, which CNN reported last month.
The new development Thursday appears to be that the inquiry has shifted to Mueller. His investigation is still in a relatively early phase, and it is unclear if any criminal charges will be brought when it is complete, the Post pointed out. Sources have stressed to CNN that there is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, Kushner’s lawyer said any such scrutiny of Kushner’s business would be “standard practice.”
“We do not know what this report refers to,” Jamie Gorelick, Kushner’s attorney, said in a statement to CNN. “It would be standard practice for the special counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia. Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”
Kushner has agreed to talk to the Senate Intelligence committee and is expected to discuss these matters with the Senate intelligence staff, though the timing is still being worked out.
In March, CNN reported Kushner had “relationship meetings” with Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov to discuss issues like sanctions. Last month, news surfaced that Kushner may have discussed creating a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Kislyak.
The Justice Department’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election is looking at Kushner’s multiple roles in the Trump administration, including the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians, according to US officials briefed on the probe.
The Post reported that FBI agents and federal prosecutors are also looking into the financial dealings of Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign policy adviser Carter Page.
Mueller is also investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, the Post reported Wednesday. He is reportedly interviewing three top intelligence officials – Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and retired deputy NSA director Richard Ledgett – as part of the probe as early as this week.
In a tweet Thursday morning, Trump, who has been putting together his own team of outside lawyers to represent him, called the Post’s report Wednesday that he is being investigated for collusion “phony.”
“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,” he wrote on Twitter. “Nice.”
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday hired his own lawyer to represent him in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
CNN’s Gloria Borger contributed to this report.