Kushner Sat for Second Interview With Mueller in Russia Probe
(Bloomberg) -- Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sat for a second interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling, an attorney for Kushner said.
Kushner also obtained a permanent security clearance more than a year into his work in the White House, his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said Wednesday.
Kushner is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation and has turned over all requested information, Lowell said. Kushner took part in a limited interview with Mueller last year, mainly focused on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the process has said.
“He has continued this complete cooperation, providing a large number of documents and sitting for hours of interview with congressional committees and providing numerous documents and sitting for two interviews with the Office of Special Counsel," Lowell said in a statement. "In each occasion, he answered all questions asked and did whatever he could to expedite the conclusion of all the investigation."
Lowell said in an appearance later Wednesday on CNN that Kushner spent nine hours being interviewed by the special counsel in his November and April sessions. The questioning, he said, largely focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the possibility of undue influence by outside countries on the president and Trump’s decision to fire former FBI director James Comey.
The interviews also touched on the investigation into Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Russian officials, but the questions didn’t delve into Kushner’s personal financial dealings, Lowell said.
“They talk about stories about him being under investigation for his finances, for his role in his companies -- let me tell you, those were not the topics,” he said.
The issuing of Kushner’s clearance, following the second interview, suggests he may no longer be a subject of Mueller’s investigation, said Mark Zaid, a lawyer who has spent years arguing security clearance cases.
“I have no doubt that the criminal investigation delayed his adjudication, and it is reasonable now to interpret that this decision -- especially in light of the recent interview -- indicates that he is out the crosshairs,” Zaid said. “It is not conclusive and can change. He could lose his clearance tomorrow if he is indicted. But presumably, unless there is something so sensitive the Special Counsel’s Office could not share it with the intelligence community, this is good news for Jared Kushner.”s
Kushner was among more than 30 White House officials whose security clearances were downgraded in February amid criticism about vetting procedures that left staffers working for months with interim clearances. Kushner lost access to some files, including those containing intelligence on foreign leaders and diplomats that can be used to gain an advantage in negotiations.
Kushner had to resubmit his security clearance form last year because of foreign contacts that had been omitted. Kushner’s lawyer has said the lengthy process to obtain a clearance wasn’t unusual given Kushner’s business and foreign contacts. But the delay opened an avenue of attack for Democrats, who questioned whether the investigation had unearthed information that raised doubts about whether he should be allowed access to sensitive information.
“His application was properly submitted, reviewed by career officials, and went through the normal process,” Lowell said. “Having completed these processes, Mr. Kushner is looking forward to continuing the work the President has asked him to do.”
Kushner’s security clearance was reported earlier by the New York Times.
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