- Jared Kushner has evidently failed to produce documents to lawmakers that they say “are known to exist” about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” and communications with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian.
- It had not been reported that a “Russian backdoor overture” was discussed in emails that Kushner forwarded, the senators say, or that anyone on the campaign had communicated with Millian.
- Reports emerged earlier this year that Millian was “Source E” in the dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, forwarded emails about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Trump campaign officials and failed to produce those emails to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two senators on the committee said in a letter to Kushner’s lawyer on Thursday.
Kushner also failed to produce emails he was copied on involving communication with the anti-secrecy agency WikiLeaks and with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian, the senators said. Millian most recently headed a group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
“There are several documents that are known to exist but were not included in your production,” Sens. Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman, and Dianne Feinstein, its ranking member, wrote to Kushner.
“For example, other parties have produced September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, which Mr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official. Such documents should have been produced in response to the third request but were not.
“Likewise, other parties have produced documents concerning a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite’ which Mr. Kushner also forwarded. And still others have produced communications with Sergei Millian, copied to Mr. Kushner.
“Again, these do not appear in Mr. Kushner’s production despite being responsive to the second request.”
Kushner came under new scrutiny this week after The Atlantic reported that his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. told him in an email in September 2016 that WikiLeaks had sent him a private message on Twitter. The report said Kushner forwarded that information to Hope Hicks, at the time a campaign communications staffer.
The “Russian backdoor overture” could be a reference to Kushner’s meeting in December with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the US, that was also attended by Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser. The senators said on Thursday that Kushner had not provided all the information it requested related to his communications with Flynn.
The Washington Post reported earlier this year that at that meeting, Kushner had suggested setting up a back-channel line of communication between the Trump transition team and Moscow using Russian diplomatic facilities in the US.
Kushner has disputed that characterization, telling lawmakers in July that he asked Kislyak whether there was “an existing communications channel at his embassy” that could be used to discuss Syria. It had not been reported, however, that the matter was discussed again in emails that Kushner “also forwarded,” the senators said.
It is unclear what the “dinner invite” was a reference to. The senators also said Kushner had not produced any phone records.
It had also not been reported that anyone on the campaign was in touch with Millian via email, or that Kushner was copied on any of those correspondences. Millian did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Millian, a Belarus-born businessman who is now a US citizen, founded the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in 2006. He has described himself as an exclusive broker for the Trump Organisation with respect to real-estate dealings in Russia.
He told the Russian news agency RIA that he had been in touch with the Trump Organisation as late as April 2016. He told Business Insider earlier this year, however, that the last time he worked on a Trump-brand project was “in Florida around 2008.” He did not respond to a request to clarify the discrepancy.
The Wall Street Journal and ABC reported earlier this year that Millian was “Source E” in the dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia. Millian, who attended several black-tie events at Trump’s inauguration, has denied that charge. He told Business Insider earlier this year that the author of The Journal’s report was “the mastermind behind fake news.”
Millian has also worked with Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian government organisation whose “fundamental” goal, it says, is to familiarise “young people from different countries” with Russian culture through exchange trips to Moscow.
The FBI has investigated whether Rossotrudnichestvo is a front for the Russian government to cultivate “young, up-and-coming Americans as Russian intelligence assets,” as described by a 2013 Mother Jones report — a theory Rossotrudnichestvo has strongly denied.