For now, the House Intel Committee investigation into Russia’s alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 election has been put on hold for a week, as they attempt to work through the controversy of committee chairman, Devin Nunes’ surprising press conference, where he discussed having seen evidence of “incidental surveillance” of Trump team members.
Nunes basically blindsided his fellow committee members by holding this press conference without sharing any of what he’d supposedly seen with them or authorities, and refusing to reveal what he had or his sources to any of them, afterwards.
However, despite the growing calls for Nunes to recuse himself by Democrats, the hearings are expected to continue and among those called to testify is Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
While the list of Trump associates who have had some kind of contact with Russian players grows, a new report has emerged that Kushner had meetings with Russian bank executives connected to Vladimir Putin in December 2016, making him the closest of those Trump associates to raise eyebrows in this investigation.
Kushner spoke with Vnesheconombank (VEB) representatives during a bank roadshow last year, Reuters said Monday.
“[Roadshow meetings occurred] with a number of representatives of the largest banks and business establishments of the United States, including Jared Kushner, the head of Kushner Companies,” VEB said in an email, declining to say when and where the meetings happened.
VEB added that its executives met representatives of financial institutes in Asia, Europe and the U.S. last year as part of preparing a new business strategy.
Currently, VEB is under Western economic sanctions, due to Russia’s actions in the Ukraine, not that that would matter if Kushner was just meeting to talk. It’s not a violation of the law or the sanctions, in this case.
The VEB Chairman is Sergey Gorkov, is a graduate of Russia’s internal security agency, the Federal Security Service.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Gorkov chairman of VEB in 2016, Reuters added, the same year the bank received 150 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) in support from Moscow’s budget.
Reports emerged Monday that the Senate Intelligence Committee will question Kushner as part of its probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 race.
The committee wants to question Kushner about discussions he arranged with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak late last year.
In December, Kushner met with Kislyak and former national security adviser Michael Flynn at Trump Tower, in New York, with a focus on strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Russia.
Encouraged, Kislyak requested a second meeting with Kushner, which was set up, and attended by a deputy, at that time.
It was Kislyak that told the deputy that he wanted to set up the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov.
One GOP senator compared following this probe into Russian interference like following a mystery novel, and I agree, or an international thriller, as I described it in an earlier piece.
Every day seems to unearth some curious nugget, but there is yet to be any one thing that unravels the entire mystery, so we keep digging and we wait.