Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly been identified as a “person of interest” in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.
The Washington Post said a senior adviser to Mr Trump was among people investigators wanted to speak to. A New York magazine reporter then said the person in question was Mr Kushner, 36, who is married to Mr Trump’s eldest daughter and who flew out of Washington on Friday night to accompany the President on his first official foreign trip.
The Post said the person under investigation was close to the President, but did not identify them. However, the number of people who fit such a profile would be very small.
NYmag reporter says that WH official identified as a "person of interest" in Russia investigation is Jared Kushner https://t.co/nwrMzLQHef— Peter Sterne (@petersterne)May 19, 2017
Yashar Ali, a contributor to New York magazine said on Twitter: “It’s Jared Kushner. Have confirmed this with four people. I’m not speculating.”
The White House did not immediately respond to calls and emails from The Independent seeking comment. The Trump Organisation, which controls the President's financial interests, also did not respond to queries.
White House officials have previously acknowledged contacts between Russian officials and Mr Kushner, as well as with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The revelation came just two days after the Justice Department announced that former FBI Director, Robert Mueller, had been appointed special counsel to lead the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Reports suggest the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the Post said.
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It said investigators remained keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
The report was published as Mr Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia on the first leg of a trip abroad that the White House hopes will shift attention away from the political firestorm triggered by his firing last week of former FBI Director James Comey.
Now we know why Jared Kushner insisted that James Comey be fired. Kushner was a focus of the FBI investigation. Who's the "nut job" now?— Andy Jones (@andyojones)May 19, 2017
Mr Comey was previously leading the probe.
His firing and news reports that Mr Trump had previously asked Mr Comey to stop investigating Mr Flynn led critics to charge that Mr Trump may have improperly sought to hamper the FBI probe.
“As the President has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement in response to the Post’s report.
Separately, the New York Times reported on Friday that Mr Trump told Russian officials at a White House meeting last week that firing Mr Comey relieved “great pressure” that the president was facing from the ongoing probe into Russia and the election.
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarising the meeting and which was read to the newspaper by a US official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Mr Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia’s Ambassador to Washington in the Oval Office the day after he fired Mr Comey.
Earlier this year, the White House issued a statement saying Mr Kushner had volunteered to testify before the Senate intelligence committee in relation to its Russia investigation.
“Mr. Kushner will certainly not be the last person the committee calls to give testimony, but we expect him to be able to provide answers to key questions that have arisen in our inquiry,” said a statement from the Senate intelligence committee.