Confirming the suspicions of some analysts, NBC News reported on Friday that President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner was the "very senior member of the presidential transition team" whoinstructed former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn to speak with Russian officials in December 2016.
The report came hours after Flynn pleaded guilty, part of deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, to making false statements to the FBI when he told the agency earlier this year that he did not discuss U.S. sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In addition to the sanctions, Flynn's communication with Kislyak also dealt with a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution challenging Israeli settlements. Kushner allegedly told Flynn to "get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote," according to a report by Buzzfeed News.
The communication between Flynn and Kislyak went against instructions from the Obama administration, which urged the Trump transition team to stay out of foreign affairs until Trump was inaugurated, arguing that its involvement would undermine Obama's policies.
Those efforts by Kushner and Flynn, warn experts, could be seen by prosecutors as a direct violation of the Logan Act which forbids unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments that run counter to official U.S. policy.
Kushner denied any involvement with the Trump team's communications with Russia in meetings with the Senate Intelligence Committee last summer, and spoke to the press briefly after speaking to the committee.
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"Let me be very clear," he said in the statement, "I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so."
"I did not collude with Russia"— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 24, 2017
Jared Kushner statement from the White House pic.twitter.com/uMnXbmeF2K
The revelation of Kushner's involvement, combined with Flynn's statement on Friday that he would be willing to testify that Trump directed him to contact Russia, brings Mueller's probe closer than ever to Trump himself.
With news that the Senior Member who ordered Flynn was Jared Kushner, the investigation has progressed from the campaign, to the White House, and now inside Donald Trump's family.— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) December 1, 2017