Jared Kushner, son-in-law of United States President Donald Trump and member of the White House advisory team, is being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the intriguing case of alleged Russian interference and influence in the 2016 elections.
Various news media outlets have reported that Kushner’s business operations are coming into question as Congress and the Justice Department investigate the strange relationship that President Trump and members of his campaign staff may have had with Kremlin officials and Russian operatives.
It appears that Mueller’s investigation is taking on the traditional and reliable “follow the money” approach. What is known about Kushner is that he has conducted meetings with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. as well as with a notorious banker who has close ties to the Kremlin. Leaked information also suggests that Kushner may have wanted to establish a secret communications channel between the White House and the Kremlin; while such secret channels are not unusual at the highest levels of governance, the circumstances over the last few months make this particular development appear very suspicious.
The Kushner investigation conforms to one of the wildest conspiracy theories that emerged after a dossier prepared by a British intelligence contractor was leaked to the press. The theory attempts to explain the strange affinity that Trump has shown towards Russian President Vladimir Putin by exposing the Kushner family’s considerable debt, which could be as high as one billion dollars. Some of this debt may be owed to Russian oligarchs connected with the Kremlin, and thus Trump may show favoritism towards Putin as a way to protect his son-in-law.
There is also speculation about Kushner’s meeting with an executive from Vnesheconombank, a financial institution that is under U.S. sanctions due to its suspected role in financing bellicose actions against Ukraine. The meeting took place at a time when the Kushner family was desperately seeking financial relief after signing a deal to acquire a Manhattan office building.
In a way, the announcement about Kushner being investigated is similar to the conspiracy theory about why Trump refuses to release his tax returns, something that he is not legally required to do. Some people believe that releasing his tax returns may uncover financial ties to Russia such as defaulted loans. Now that Special Counsel Mueller is connecting the dots and looking at the money trail left by Trump associates such as Kushner, interesting facts about the President’s business dealings may come to light.
For his part, Kushner has indicated that he is willing to meet with intelligence officials to discuss why he has held meetings with Russian officials. His advisory role in the White House certainly does not preclude him from meeting with foreign dignitaries, but it still does not look good for the President’s son-in-law. As far as Trump is concerned, Mueller is evaluating evidence that may result in a determination that the President has engaged in obstruction of justice with regard to the ongoing investigation.