White House Adviser Jared Kushner's finances and businesses have reportedly become a subject of interest in a Department of Justice probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.
On June 15, U.S. officials familiar with the DOJ probe disclosed that special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Kushner's business dealings, The Washington Post reports.
Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a government official. Mueller was already investigating Kushner's contacts with Russian officials during Trump's presidential transition period.
In December 2016, Kushner met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in New York City. During that meeting, Kushner proposed establishing a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government that would bypass the U.S. intelligence community, according to The New York Times.
The Trump administration asserted that Kushner suggested the back channel so that former White House National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn could coordinate with Russia to form a strategy for the Syrian Civil War.
That same month, Kushner also met with Sergey Gorkov of Vnesheconombank, a Russian bank accused of being state-owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin's government and is currently under U.S. sanctions.
On June 15, officials disclosed that the DOJ probe was investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice. Mueller's investigation currently encompasses the president's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the Russian government's role during the election, whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials, and alleged financial crimes committed by Trump associates.
U.S. officials have also disclosed to The Washington Post that FBI general counsel James A. Baker had advised Comey not to tell Trump that he was under federal investigation.
On June 8, Comey stated during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that one anonymous FBI official was against informing Trump that he was not a person of interest in the Russia probe.
"His view was still that it … could be misleading, because the nature of the investigation was such that it might well touch -- obviously, it would touch the campaign, and the person at the head of the campaign would be the candidate," Comey said. "And so that was his view throughout."
Baker is reportedly the official to whom Comey was referring. He declined to comment on the disclosure.
Attorney Jamie Gorelick, Kushner's lawyer, asserted that they would cooperate with the Mueller probe.
"We do not know what this report refers to," Gorelick said. "It would be standard practice for the Special Counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia. Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."
Mueller spokesman Peter Carr blasted the disclosure that Kushner's finances were under investigation, stating that "the Special Counsel's Office has undertaken stringent controls to prohibit unauthorized disclosures and will deal severely with any member who engages in this conduct."
On June 15, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released a statement urging Americans to treat anonymously sourced news stories about the DOJ probe with caution.
"Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials,'" Rosenstein said, according to Fox News.