Report names Kushner as 'person of interest' in Russia probe
Saul Loeb (AFP/File)
A New York Magazine reporter has named US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner as the senior White House official identified as a "person of interest" in the ongoing FBI investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia.
The allegation against Kushner followed a report by the Washington Post on Friday, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the probe as saying that the investigation had reached the senior-most levels of Trump's administration, with a top White House official having been deemed "significant person of interest".
The Post's sources did not, however, disclose the name of the person. It did note that the White House has previously acknowledged contacts between Kushner and Russia, and that Kushner is among those whose ties with Moscow have come under scrutiny.
Shortly after the Post story broke, New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali tweeted that he had confirmed "with four people" that the senior aide in question was Kushner.
"It’s Jared Kushner. Have confirmed this with four people. I’m not speculating," he wrote.
The Russian government is accused by US intelligence of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump's favor.
On Thursday, Trump declared himself the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in American political history and denied allegations of collusion.
"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians -- zero," Trump told reporters.
The White House on Friday predicted that the investigation would back up Trump's account.
"As the president has stated before -- a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity," said spokesman Sean Spicer.
The White House was rocked by a further revelation Friday, when reports emerged that Trump said his sacking of FBI director James Comey has relieved "great pressure" on him caused by the Russia investigation.
The New York Times reported that Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week that Comey was a "nut job."
"I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off," Trump told his guest in the Oval Office, the Times said, quoting notes taken at the meeting and read to the paper by a US official.
That flies in the face of the White House's public insistence that Comey's dismissal was not linked to his ongoing investigation.
Spicer offered a new explanation for that firing, saying that Trump had been trying to improve relations with Russia -- and Comey got in the way.
"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia," he said.
(Staff with agencies)
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The elite doesn't want Trump to succeed where it failed ABYSMALLY!