U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law failed to disclose contacts with top Russian officials when he applied for a security clearance this year, his lawyer has said.
The New York Times first reported Jared Kushner's failure to report meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the head of a Kremlin-owned bank that is the target of U.S. sanctions.
The omissions by Kushner, who is one of Trump's closest advisers, come at as the FBI and several committees of Congress are investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Kremlin ties with the Trump campaign.
Kushner's lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said the omissions were due to an "administrative error" that occurred during the rushed period before Trump's inauguration on January 20. "There was no intent to obscure any foreign meetings, including those with Russia," she said.
Kushner last month volunteered to answer questions from U.S. congressional committees that are investigating the contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates.
Kushner's lawyer said his failure to disclose his meetings with Russian officials occurred because a draft of Kushner's security-clearance application was mistakenly submitted to the government "prematurely" without complete information on January 18.
Gorelick said the application was later amended to include this statement from Kusher: "During the presidential campaign and transition period, I served as a point-of-contact for foreign officials trying to reach the president-elect. I had numerous contacts with foreign officials in this capacity.... I would be happy to provide additional information about these contacts."
When applying for a security clearance, applicants are asked to disclose details about their interactions with foreigners, including the names of all the foreign government officials the applicant has had contact with over the past seven years. In some cases, people can lose their security clearances and jobs for not properly disclosing their contacts with foreigners.
In addition to meeting with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower in December 2016, Kushner met with Sergei Gorkov, a graduate of Russia's spy school who now heads the Russian state-owned bank Vneshekonombank.
Vneshekonombank is a target of U.S. sanctions imposed in 2014 in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine.
It is controlled by members of President Vladimir Putin's government, including Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and has been used to bail out oligarchs favored by Putin and to fund pet projects like the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Kushner has said he did not discuss sanctions with Gorkov, while Gorkov has declined to comment on whether sanctions were discussed.