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Posted by admin on Jul 17, 2017

The TelegraphLast week, Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump were hobnobbing with technology titans and billionaires, including Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, at an annual conference for the global elite put on by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in Sun Valley, Idaho. For America's foremost power couple it was a welcome retreat from Washington, where a full-scale Democratic assault on the pair has reached fever pitch. Mr Kushner, in particular, has become the focus of a concerted, multi-pronged attempt to claim a senior White House scalp. Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer at the centre of the past week's revelations Credit: Kommersant Mr Kushner is the only serving member of the Trump administration who was present at a meeting between Donald Trump Jr, the president's son, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and former Soviet intelligence officer Rimat Akhmetshin at Trump Tower in New York on June 9 2016. All week, revelations have intensified the pressure on Mr Trump’s core team. On Saturday it emerged that eight people were present at the meeting, including an unnamed translator and a member of the prominent Russian family who had asked the meeting to be set up. An email chain revealed the meeting was brokered by Rob Goldstone, a British publicist, who said his client had damaging information on the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help Mr Trump’s campaign. Mr Trump Jr was eager to accept. Mr Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended. Trump on Don Jr: 'Anyone would have taken that meeting' 01:21 Mr Trump Jr has said the meeting quickly turned to the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that imposed sanctions on some Russian citizens for alleged rights violations. The law so infuriated Moscow that it imposed a ban on Americans adopting Russian children. The presence of Mr Akhmetshin was a clear sign of how hard Moscow was pushing to gain influence and persuade Mr Trump to drop sanctions against Russians contained in the Magnitsky Act, according to Bill Browder, whose campaigning led to the sanctions and who is due to give evidence to the Senate judiciary committee next week. “Basically, it only makes it more clear that the Russians were trying as hard as they could to pursue the agenda of getting rid of the Magnitsky Act,” he said. But the meeting, and the email chain that set it up, has raised serious questions about potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Donald Trump Jr Credit: AP While critics initially focused on Mr Trump Jr, who does not hold a position at the White House, it is Mr Kushner who could ultimately pay a higher price. Crucially, he twice failed to disclose the meeting on application forms for security clearance that he was requested to submit as a government employee. Intentionally concealing or falsifying information on the forms, known as SF-86s, is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in jail. While Mr Kushner's lawyers have indicated it was an innocent omission Democrats scent blood. One senior Democrat said: "He watched his father-in-law on television say no one in the campaign talked to the Russian government. He knew that was false." Jared Kushner speaks: is this what you were expecting? 00:55 The omission has also presented an opening for Democrats to target Ivanka Trump, who is employed by her father as a White House senior adviser. The SF-86 asks whether "you, or any member of your immediate family, in the past seven years, had any contact with a foreign government, or its representatives, whether inside or outside the US?". Immediate family includes spouses. "Has she (Ivanka Trump) updated her security clearance paperwork to reflect this and other meetings which Jared Kushner failed to disclose?" a senior Democrat said. A White House spokeswoman said attacks on the couple were "ridiculous" and an example of "Democrats playing political games". But it was part of a wider campaign targeting Mr Kushner.

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