Trump son-in-law faces Russia questions

 

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, will be questioned by a US committee investigating alleged ties between the Trump team and Moscow.

Kushner has volunteered to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the White House said.

It is examining Russia’s alleged interference in last year’s election.

The US intelligence community believes alleged Russian hacking during the presidential election was done to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

Russia denied the allegations and President Trump has branded the story “fake news”.

There are two congressional investigations into the issue, plus an FBI one.

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers have been calling for Republican Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to withdraw himself from all further investigations into possible links between the Trump team and Russia.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said he had discredited himself by secretly visiting the White House to review intelligence documents, before announcing he had information that Trump and his advisers may have been subjected to incidental surveillance during the election, reports the BBC.

Nunes’ spokesman said he had visited the White House grounds as it was “a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source”.

However, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said the White House visit, which was kept from other committee members, showed Nunes was too close to the Trump administration to “lead a credible investigation”.

The Senate committee wants to question Kushner about two meetings he allegedly arranged with senior Russians, officials told the New York Times.

But staff of Kushner, who was a senior adviser to Trump during the election campaign, have said that so far his offer to be questioned has not been answered.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Kushner has not invoked executive privilege, and will testify because his job with the campaign was to be a “conduit to leaders”.

“That was his role and he wants to makes sure that he’s very clear about the role that he played, who he talked to, and that’s it,” Spicer said on Monday.

The first was with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York in December. The second was with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.

White House staff told the New York Times nothing significant was discussed and members of the president-elect’s team routinely met Russians and other foreign delegations.

Meanwhile, Kushner has been picked to lead a new White House team that aims to overhaul government bureaucracy.

It will have sweeping powers to reform procedures, with technology and data a key area and the help of Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft founder Bill Gates reportedly enlisted.

Kushner, 36, told the newspaper the “government should be run like a great American company”.

He is a property investor and media executive who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

He already advises the president on foreign relations, and is said to have been influential in helping President Trump choose staff for his campaign and in government.

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