Robert Mueller expands Jared Kushner inquiries to include financial dealings with Qatari and Chinese investors

Clark Mindock
Mr Kushner's real estate company has struggled with debt since the 2008 financial crisis: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is expanding its scope of interest to include Jared Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition, people familiar with the probe have told CNN.

This is the first time that Mr Kushner’s conversations with potential non-Russian investors has been mentioned in the media, and could include countries like China.

The investigation has reportedly also been looking at President Donald Trump's son in law's relationship to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as Mr Kushner’s personal contacts with Russians during the campaign or transition period.

The people familiar with the investigation told CNN that Mr Mueller’s team has been asking about conversations Mr Kushner may have had to try and attract financing for 666 Fifth Avenue, an asset owned by Kushner Companies that has led to profound financial troubles for the firm.

It was not immediately clear why, specifically, Mr Mueller’s team may be interested in Mr Kushner’s contacts. The probe has reportedly not contacted Kushner Companies for information, nor has it requested interviews with executives.

Mr Kushner’s role during the presidential transition was as point-man for contacts with foreign governments. He later told a congressional panel that he made “over fifty contacts with people from over fifteen countries.”

Before joining the White House, Mr Kushner worked to divest his interests in Kushner Companies, which was founded by his father. He later divested from the 666 Fifth Avenue building, which his company purchased for $1.8 billion in 2007.

Those interests were placed in a family trust that Mr Kushner does not personally benefit from, according to a spokesman for Mr Kushner.

Mr Kushner reportedly met with Wu Xiaohui, of Anyang Insurance, during the transition period. Mr Kushner and Mr Wu were, at the time, reportedly close to striking a deal on the 666 Fifth Avenue property, which would have relieved debt stress on Kushner Companies that was exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis (the deal collapsed in March). Mr Mueller’s team is reportedly interested in those talks.

Mr Mueller’s team has also become interested in talks between Mr Kushner and a Qatari investor related to the same property. Mr Kushner and his company tried to negotiate financing from former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani for the property as well. Those negotiations ultimately stalled.