The investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia has finally reached a member of the Trump family: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband.
The White House has confirmed that Kushner met with an executive from a Russian bank at the request of the Russian ambassador, and senate investigators plan to question him as a part of a larger inquiry.
A White House spokesperson says after an initial meeting with the ambassador, Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, chief of Vnesheconombank, according to The New York Times.
Juliette Kayyem joined Boston Public Radio to explain the significance of the White House’s confirmation of the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov.
“The allegations against Jared Kushner now seem quite serious,” said Kayyem.
The White House says the meeting was for diplomatic reasons, while Gorkov says it was business-related.
This disparity, along with the fact that the bank was on an American sanctions list after Russia annexed Crimea, raises questions for Kayyem about the content of the meeting.
“[Kushner’s] explanation was this was in his official capacity for diplomatic reasons. The bank has come back and said 'no, it was for work reasons,'” she said. “They can’t even get their story straight.”
She also noted Gorkov’s education at an academy for Russian intelligence and security forces.
Kayyem said she could understand why Kushner would want to meet with the Russian ambassador in a diplomatic capacity, but said the meeting with the bank leader makes less sense.
“For the White House to say, for diplomatic reasons, Jared Kushner is meeting with the leader of one bank in the midst of the Kushner enterprise needing money ... is either sheer incompetence or the story doesn’t sound right,” she said. “He’s yet another piece in a very, very noisy amount of information.”
Juliette Kayyem is the founder of Kayyem solutions, a faculty member at Harvard’s Kennedy School, host of WGBH News' The SCIF Podcast, and a contributor to CNN. To hear her interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.