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Trump's Son-In-Law Jared Kushner To Face Questions On Russia Ties

27/03/2017 11:57 PM AEDT | Updated 29/03/2017 6:23 AM AEDT

The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to question President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner about his contact with Russian officials, The New York Times reported early Monday.

Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, would be the most prominent and highest-ranking White House official to face interrogation as part of the Senate committee’s probe into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Early this year, intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had interfered in the U.S. election to help Trump win.

White House and congressional officials confirmed to the Times that the committee hopes to question Kushner over his scheduled meetings with Russian officials, including Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

It was previously reported that Kushner met with Kislyak at Trump Tower in December, along with former national security adviser Michael Flynn. But the White House confirmed that there was an additional meeting scheduled between Kushner and Kislyak to which Kushner sent an associate in his place.

Kushner also met with the head of a state-owned Russian bank. The Obama administration had imposed sanctions on the bank following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Both meetings took place during Trump’s presidential transition in December.

The Kremlin downplayed the Vnesheconombank bank meeting.

“Tens of meetings were held and one of these meetings was with Kushner’s company and with him,” a Kremlin spokesman said, according to Reuters. “It is routine business.”

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has taken on a prominent role in the White House as a foreign policy adviser to Trump. On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that he will also lead a newly created White House office that reports directly to Trump, the Office of American Innovation, which will focus on policy ideas and strategy.

White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks claimed that Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials were routine, as part of his role as a top adviser to Trump.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that Kushner “volunteered to meet with” the Senate Intelligence Committee and defended Kushner’s meetings.

“He met with countless individuals. That was part of his job,” Spicer told reporters at the White House press briefing.

Read more at The New York Times.

This story has been updated with comment from Sean Spicer and the Kremlin.

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