Kushner questioned about potential Russian collusion, obstruction
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators questioned White House senior adviser Jared Kushner about potential Russian collusion, his contacts with foreigners during the transition and obstruction-related issues, including the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, Kushner’s lawyer said Wednesday.
Abbe Lowell, who has represented Kushner in the Russia investigation, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Kushner answered all the questions that were asked during Kushner’s second interview with the Mueller team. Lowell said the topics were “the appropriate topics that Bob Mueller and his team were looking at.”
He said another topic area that was touched on was whether there had been any “undue influence put on (Trump associates) by outside countries, particularly Russia.” In addition to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 US election, other countries like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar drew close to the Trump team, including a series of high-profile meetings during the transition that have attracted scrutiny from investigators.
Lowell added that Kushner was not asked about his personal finances or his family’s real estate business. Mueller’s investigators are examining Kushner’s business dealings during the presidential transition, and CNN has reported that other witnesses were asked about these matters in interviews earlier this year.
“I would say it is the definition of cooperation,” Lowell said, pointing to Kushner’s willingness to provide documents to the special counsel and to return for another interview when Mueller’s team requested one.
In public statements and congressional testimony, Kushner has denied any collusion with Russia. He maintains that all of his contacts with Russians were proper and related to his role in the administration.
Among the topics Kushner was asked about were his contacts with foreign nationals during the transition, according to his lawyer. In the months before Trump took office, Kushner met with two top Russian officials: Sergey Kislyak, then-Russian ambassador to the US, and Sergey Gorkov, then-chairman of a state-run bank.
Investigators also asked Kushner about his role in Comey’s dismissal, Lowell said, which is a central part of the obstruction inquiry. Kushner was with President Donald Trump while Trump deliberated Comey’s fate, during a critical weekend at his golf club Bedminster in May 2017, and he urged his father-in-law to fire Comey.
Kushner’s attorney would not rule out that Mueller might ask Kushner for a third interview, though Lowell said it was unlikely. He also said that based on his experience with the special counsel, he hasn’t seen anything to suggest that Kushner is more than a witness in the investigation.
“After spending a total of nine hours, from November and then in April, I can’t imagine there is another question that they could possibly ask that would be relevant,” Lowell said.
CNN reported earlier Wednesday that the interview took place in April and lasted seven hours. Kushner previously spoke with investigators in November and was primarily asked about matters involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Shortly after that interview, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s probe.