- Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is said to be increasingly worried about the size and scope of the Russia investigation.
- Kushner reportedly asked a friend whether the probe would become big enough to “get the president.”
- The investigation has expanded to include whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he fired James Comey as FBI director and whether Trump had a role in crafting a misleading statement his son Donald Trump Jr. released about a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.
- Kushner is a central figure in both of those events.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, is worried about the widening scope of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, Vanity Fair reported on Tuesday.
As part of his investigation, the special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the election in his favor.
A grand jury in October indicted Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, and his associate Rick Gates on 12 counts – related to money laundering, financial crimes, and their work as foreign agents – stemming from Mueller’s investigation.
Vanity Fair reported that after the indictments were unsealed, Kushner asked a friend, “Do you think they’ll get the president?”
Mueller is also investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he fired James Comey as FBI director in May. At the time, Comey was leading the bureau’s Russia investigation.
The White House initially said Trump fired Comey because of his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business while she was secretary of state. Later, however, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that “this Russia thing” had been a factor in his decision.
He also told two high-ranking Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting that firing Comey, whom he called a “nut job,” the day before had taken “great pressure” off of him, The New York Times reported in May.
Mueller is also reportedly looking into the president’s role in drafting a misleading statement his son Donald Trump Jr. issued in response to reports in July that he met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.
The statement had to be amended several times after it emerged that Trump Jr. took the meeting when the music publicist setting it up promised him dirt on his father’s Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Kushner’s role takes center stage
Kushner, along with Manafort and Trump Jr., attended the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, and he “pushed” for Comey’s firing, The Wall Street Journal reported.
He was also with Trump at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, during a weekend in early May when Trump put together a draft letter laying out all the reasons he wanted to fire Comey. Though it was never sent – the White House counsel Don McGahn strongly advised against sending it – Trump fired Comey days later. The letter is now in Mueller’s possession.
Concerns about the Russia investigation and Kushner are not one-sided. Citing two Republicans who spoke with Trump recently, Vanity Fair reported that Trump was “frustrated” with Kushner’s advice, including his pushing to dismiss Comey.
Trump has been “pressuring” Kushner and Ivanka Trump – the president’s daughter who’s married to Kushner – to leave Washington, DC, and return to New York to avoid negative news coverage, one source close to Kushner told Vanity Fair.
But it’s unlikely he will leave the spotlight anytime soon, particularly as he becomes an increasingly critical figure in the Russia investigation.