Jared Kushner has kept Congress in the dark about suspicion-arousing information that could expose his ties to Russian operatives. He insists he’s got nothing to hide when it comes to the Russia election interference. Yet he keeps failing to disclose things that raise real questions about whether he colluded with Moscow during the campaign — and whether he’s been trying to cover it up ever since.
Just last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee notified Kushner’s attorney that Kushner had failed to provide them with some vital emails regarding their investigation into possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Those emails indicate that Kushner knew about multiple instances in which Russian officials contacted the Trump campaign in 2016. They also indicate that he knew Donald Trump Jr. had secretly corresponded with WikiLeaks.
In July, Kushner had told congressional investigators that he couldn’t recall any communication between the campaign and WikiLeaks. He lied.
As noted by Vox, this is not the only time that crucial pieces of information about Kushner’s Russia ties or business holdings seem to have mysteriously escaped his memory.
“Kushner failed to include the names of more than 100 foreign officials whom he met with in the years before joining the White House on his application for national security clearance — including top Russian officials. He’s had to change his financial disclosure forms detailing his divestment from his business empire at least 39 times. He’s neglected to mention the Russian technology magnate that owns a stake in a company he co-owns. And when he offers explanations for the oversights, they’re loaded with deflections such as when he said that a busy schedule and email overload made it hard for him to remember communications with foreign officials.”
On Monday, Vox published a brief guide to all of the things Kushner has conveniently forgotten — and that special counsel Robert Mueller may wind up grilling him about.
Kushner failed to disclose the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia
The Senate Judiciary Committee has identified at least three crucial documents that Kushner had failed to send to them.
One is an email that Donald Trump Jr. sent to Kushner about his secret correspondence with WikiLeaks over Twitter. Kushner forwarded that email to campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks in 2016. But he testified that he had no memory of this during private interviews with lawmakers in July, and he didn’t hand over the email to congressional investigators in response to their documents request.
The second document was an email thread about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.” The Judiciary Committee’s letter references an attempt by Aleksander Torshin — the deputy head of Russia’s central bank who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin — to connect with the Trump campaign.
The third document is an email thread involving Sergei Millian, the president of the US-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce, who is believed to be a critical source for the infamous Steele dossier. According to reports, Millian could potentially be the source that claimed to be “present” for Trump’s alleged “perverted conduct in Moscow.”
Kushner failed to disclose his meetings with Russians
When Kushner applied for top-secret security clearance when he entered the White House, he was supposed to list any foreign government officials whom he had met with in the past seven years. Yet, somehow, he forgot to mention more than 100 meetings with foreign dignitaries — including several powerful Russians connected to the Kremlin.
He failed to mention meetings in December with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the US, and Sergey Gorkov, the head of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank.
He also didn’t disclose that he met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-affiliated Russian lawyer, in Trump Tower in Manhattan in June 2016.
Kushner failed to disclose his private email account
In September, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) sent Kushner an angry letter complaining that they’d learned he had used using private email to handle government business “through the news media rather than from you, in your closed staff interview.”
Kushner failed to disclose his business ties with Russians
In July, Kushner made a public statement in response to the Russia scandal, saying: “I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent.”
But that’s a lie. Leaked documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in November revealed that Kushner has ties to a Russian oligarch who has helped the Kremlin invest in Facebook and Twitter.
Yuri Milner, a Russian billionaire investor with close financial ties to the Russian government, owns a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner called Cadre.
Incredibly, Kushner conveniently forgot to list Cadre among his holdings when he entered the White House.
The problem Kushner faces is that those omissions, intentional or otherwise, can carry serious consequences.
“You have to ask if his initial instinct is to try to see if he can get away with hiding contacts or records that he thinks can be used as evidence of the campaign’s involvement with Russians,” Lawrence Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group, told Vox.
“If so, he has forgotten — or never knew — the warning that the cover-up is sometimes worse than the crime,” Noble said.