A Russian national asked to meet with then-candidate Donald Trump in May 2016, a request that is under scrutiny by the Senate Judiciary Committee as they seek more information from Jared Kushner.
The committee on Thursday asked for more information from Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, concerning a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite." The document request says the “dinner invite” concerned an email asking a meeting with someone by the name of Alexander Torshin and Maria Butina, reportedly Torshin’s assistant, an anonymous source told CBS News.
The pair claimed to be members of “The Right To Bear Arms,” an all-Russian organization, the source said.
Torshin and Butina expressed a desire to meet Trump and were enthusiastic about Trump meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia through a request from an intermediary associated with a National Rifle Association event in Kentucky.
The intermediary passed along the five-page request to the Trump campaign, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates. Both were indicted by a federal grand jury last month on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the U.S., for their work years ago for their lobbying work on behalf of pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.
Eventually, the request was sent to Kushner, who declined the meeting request. He noted that people who say they have messages for the campaign rarely do, CBS News' source said.
Torshin has connections to the Kremlin, and reports indicate he was appointed to deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. Additionally, it is possible he has ties to organized crime.
Kushner’s attorney didn’t offer insight into the email request, but said he and Kushner would comply with the judiciary panel's requests.
"Mr. Kushner and we have been responsive to all requests. We provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner's calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request," attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement. "We also informed the committee we will be open to responding to any additional requests and that we will continue to work with White House Counsel for any responsive documents from after the inauguration. We have been in a dialogue with the committee and will continue to do so as part of Mr. Kushner's voluntary cooperation with relevant bipartisan inquiries."
Kushner had discussed establishing a “back channel” for communications with Russian officials and the Trump transition team with Sergei Kislyak, former Russian ambassador to the U.S., in December 2016.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, along with a series of congressional committees, are conducting probes to determine if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.