Kushner forwarded emails about ‘Russian Backdoor Overture’

  • Jared Kushner has apparently failed to present documents to lawmakers that they say are “known to exist” about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invitation” and communication 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 someone in the campaign had communicated with Millian.

Editor’s note: This article was updated following a federal indictment on November 3, 2021, which accused Igor Danchenko, a Russia expert who contributed to the so-called Steele case, of lying to investigators about receiving information from Sergei Millian. Millian repeatedly denied that he was a source of any material in the dossier.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, forwarded emails of a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invitation” to Trump campaign officials and failed to produce those emails to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two senators said in a letter to Kushner’s lawyer Thursday.

Kushner also failed to produce emails he was copied on that involved communication with the anti-secrecy office WikiLeaks and with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian, the senators said. Millian most recently led 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 wrote. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the committee, and Dianne Feinstein, its executive member, to Kushner.

They continued:

“For example, other parties have been producing emails since September 2016 to Mr. Kushner regarding WikiLeaks, which Mr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign employee. Such documents should have been submitted in response to the third request, but were not.

“Similarly, other parties have provided documents relating to a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invitation’, 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 responding to the second request.”

Kushner came under new investigation 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 passed on this information to Hope Hicks, at the time a campaign communications officer.

The “Russian backdoor overture” could be a reference to Kushner’s meeting in December with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the United States, who was also attended by Michael Flynn, the future national security adviser. Senators said Thursday that Kushner had not provided all the information it requested in connection with his communication with Flynn.

The Washington Post reported earlier this year that at this meeting, Kushner had proposed setting up a back-channel line of communication between Trump’s transition team and Moscow using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States.

Kushner disputed this characteristic, telling lawmakers in July that he asked Kislyak if there was “an existing communication channel at his embassy” that could be used to discuss Syria. However, it had not been reported that the matter was being discussed again in emails that Kushner “also forwarded,” the senators said.

It is unclear what the “dinner invitation” was a reference to. Senators also said Kushner had not produced any phone records.

It had also not been reported that anyone in the campaign was in contact with Millian via email, or that Kushner was copied on any of these correspondences. Millian did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Millian, a Belarusian-born businessman who is now a U.S. citizen, founded the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in 2006. He has described himself as an exclusive mediator for the Trump organization in real estate trading in Russia.

He told the Russian news agency RIA that he had been in contact with the Trump organization as late as April 2016. However, he told Business Insider earlier this year that the last time he worked on a Trump brand project was “in Florida. ca. 2008. ” He did not respond to a request for clarification.

The Wall Street Journal and ABC reported earlier in 2017 that Millian was “Source E” in the dossier that claimed ties between Trump and Russia. Millian, however, has denied that accusation. He told Business Insider earlier this year that the author of The Journal’s report was “the mastermind behind fake news.”

More doubts about Millian’s connection to the dossier emerged in a federal indictment on November 3, 2021, accusing Igor Danchenko, a Russia expert who contributed to the Steele dossier, of lying to investigators about receiving information about the dossier from Millian.

Millian has also worked with Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian government organization whose “basic” goal, it says, is to make “young people from different countries” familiar with Russian culture through exchange trips to Moscow.

The FBI has investigated whether Rossotrudnichestvo is a front for the Russian government to cultivate “young, future Americans as Russian intelligence assets”, as described in a 2013 Mother Jones report – a theory that Rossotrudnichestvo has vehemently rejected.

Read the whole letter:

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