Scrutiny of Jared Kushner's Russia contacts brings the probe to Trump's inner circle

PHOTO: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, right, walks with Ivanka Trump at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh.PlayEvan Vucci/AP Photo
WATCH Jared Kushner: Everything you need to know

The revelation that Jared Kushner's meetings with Russians are under scrutiny brings the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election to Trump's inner circle.

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The 36-year-old Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, has had a growing role in that circle over the past two years, from Trump family member to trusted campaign adviser to White House senior adviser.

Kushner is a focus in the Russia investigation over his meetings with at least two Russian officials, Moscow's ambassador to the U.S. and a banking executive, sources tell ABC News.

He is not a target of the FBI investigation and has not been accused of committing a crime, but sources said he is among a number of White House staffers and former Trump campaign officials who are likely to be interviewed by the FBI.

Here are the known meetings of Kushner with Russian officials since his father-in-law was elected.

Meeting the ambassador

Kushner's name is on the list of Trump team members who met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition between Trump's election victory and his inauguration. Kushner and Michael Flynn, who would go on to become Trump's first national security adviser, met with Kislyak together in Trump Tower in December.

The subject matter discussed during the meeting remains unclear.

"They generally discussed the [U.S.-Russia] relationship, and it made sense to establish a line of communication," White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement in March after the meeting was first publicly disclosed. "Jared has had meetings with many other foreign countries and representatives — as many as two dozen other foreign countries' leaders and representatives."

Other Trump associates who met with Kislyak before the inauguration include then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, now U.S. attorney general, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Trump himself met with Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on May 10 -- a meeting that raised questions afterward when it was revealed that the president disclosed classified information about ISIS to the Russian officials. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell were also present in the meeting

PHOTO:General Mike Flynn (L), Jared Kushner (2L),John Kelly (R) and others listen while US President Donald Trump speaks at the beginning of a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2017, in Washington. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO:General Mike Flynn (L), Jared Kushner (2L),John Kelly (R) and others listen while US President Donald Trump speaks at the beginning of a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2017, in Washington.

Kushner's meeting with Russian banker

Separately, the White House confirmed that in December, Kushner met with Sergei Gorkov of Russian bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, at the suggestion of the Russian ambassador.

A senior White House official said the conversation was "general and inconsequential" and that Kushner took the meeting as part of his campaign role of interfacing with foreign dignitaries. But the bank described the discussion to ABC News as a "negotiation" in which "the parties discussed the business practices applied by foreign development banks, as well as most promising business lines and sectors."

The December meeting, which like Kushner's meeting with Kislyak came to light in March, happened as Kushner Companies, the real estate firm of Jared Kushner's family, was engaged in what has been described in public statements as "active, advanced negotiations ... with a number of potential investors" about the redevelopment of a skyscraper the company owns at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

To date, neither Kushner nor the family real estate firm has commented on the meeting with VEB. An official representing the Kushner firm responded to questions from ABC News on March 29, saying that Kushner was the only executive from his family's real estate firm to attend.

"VEB is not providing financing, lending or any other services to Kushner Companies," the official said.

In the wake of the revelations in March of Kushner's meetings, a senior administration official confirmed that Kushner has volunteered to speak with the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russia.

His role in the administration

Kushner in addition to being a senior adviser to the president was also named to head the new White House Office of American Innovation.

That is one of his more formal and visible roles, but he also has unofficial duties that are no less important, including helping to represent the administration in meetings with foreign leaders and serving as a point of contact for those trying to get a message through to the president.

Kushner was invited by Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to visit Iraq in April for an on-the-ground update on the fight against ISIS.

And the interest that Kushner, a practicing Orthodox Jew, has in brokering peace in the Middle East is widely known.

At an event for Republican donors and supporters the night before the inauguration, Trump publicly addressed Kushner in his remarks, saying, "If you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also highlighted his longstanding ties and familiarity with Kushner when he visited the White House in February.

"Can I reveal, Jared, how long we’ve known you?" Netanyahu said while addressing Kushner, who was seated in the front row at the gathering.

"Well, he was never small. He was always big. He was always tall," Netanyahu said, alluding to Kushner's height even as a child.

PHOTO: Iraqs Defence Minister Erfan al-Hiyali (L), welcomes U.S. President Donald Trumps son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner in Baghdad, April 3, 2017. Stringer/Reuters
Iraq's Defence Minister Erfan al-Hiyali (L), welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner in Baghdad, April 3, 2017.

PHOTO: Pope Francis poses withPresident Donald Trump (C) his wife Melania (R), Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017.Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters
Pope Francis poses withPresident Donald Trump (C) his wife Melania (R), Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017.

"But I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time, and there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump," the Israeli leader concluded.

Kushner's apparent influence in the White House may stem from his close relationship with his father-in-law. Kushner was a part of the delegation that traveled with Trump this week on his first foreign trip as president. And perhaps because of his being a member of the president's immediate family, Kushner is included in some meetings that may be closed to other Trump associates, the most recent example being the audience with the pope at the Vatican.

In the U.S., Kushner is constantly spotted in the Oval Office and joins Trump on his frequent weekend trips to the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Kushner’s connection to the Russia investigation. The story has been changed to reflect that Kushner’s contacts with Russians are a focus of the investigation.

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