It was a tumultuous Memorial Day weekend for the White House, particularly President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was the subject of a series of bombshell reports that punctuated the end of the president’s first trip abroad with fresh controversy. Here’s a brief look at the weekend’s revelations:
Thursday: NBC News reported that Kushner is a subject of particular scrutiny in the FBI’s ongoing Russia probe. NBC’s sources say that Kushner “is in a different category from former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who are formally considered subjects of the investigation.”
Friday: The Washington Post reported that Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak discussed setting up a secret communications back channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin in December. In March the White House disclosed that the two had met, but the Post’s sources say that the FBI has taken an interest in what was discussed.
Saturday: Reuters reported that Kushner had made undisclosed contacts with Kislyak between April and November last year. Its sources say that the two discussed terrorism and “economic relations” between the United States and Russia.
Sunday: The New York Times reported that Kushner was among the voices in the White House that strongly urged President Trump to fire James Comey. The Times’ report says Kushner assured Trump that the firing would “be a political ‘win’ that would neutralize protesting Democrats because they had called for Mr. Comey’s ouster.”
Monday: The New York Times reported that Kushner met in December with Putin associate Sergey Gorkov, the head of a Russian bank subject to U.S. sanctions, in the interest of establishing a back channel with the Kremlin.
White House officials have defended Kushner against the barrage of revelations, and President Trump released a statement on Sunday stating that Kushner has his full confidence. “He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars,” he said. “In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.” Nevertheless, Kushner has reportedly been urged to keep a low profile as Trump prepares to reset his agenda following his return from abroad.