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House Democrats call for FBI to probe into Kushner's ties to Saudi crown prince

Six House Democrats are calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to investigate whether President Donald Trump's son-...

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 6:14 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 6:14 PM

Six House Democrats are calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to investigate whether President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House aide Jared Kushner leaked classified information to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

The call comes after The Intercept, citing three sources, reported that the Saudi prince -- known casually by his initials, MBS -- told confidantes after their meeting last year that Kushner had discussed Saudi leaders who are disloyal to the crown prince.

"We request the FBI open an immediate investigation to determine if these reports are accurate and to explore the extent to which information and sources may have been comprised," reads the letter from Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu, Gerald Connolly, Donald Beyer, Pramila Jaypal, Peter Welch and Ruben Gallego.

The letter notes that the "integrity of classified information" falls within the purview of the FBI but that "while the President has the authority to declassify and share information, the President's advisers do not."

According to The Intercept, one person "who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers" told the publication that MBS bragged to United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed that Kushner was "in his pocket." The publication added that the information on the Saudi royals not loyal to him was contained within the President's Daily Brief, a document presented to the President every day that Kushner lost access to earlier this year when near security clearance rules were instituted by chief of staff John Kelly.

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner's lawyers, denied the initial report.

"Some questions by the media are so obviously false and ridiculous that they merit no response. This is one," he said.

After news of the letter broke, Mirijanian said the allegations at the basis of the letter have "been debunked as false many times."

"But that does not stop some congressional Democrats from seeking to revive it for purely partisan reasons," Mirijanian said. "Add this to the pile of frivolous actions some in Congress have taken instead of conducting real business for Americans."

Multiple White House officials declined to comment on the new letter to Wray, Trump's pick to lead the FBI.

Kushner, the White House aide tasked with leading negations in the Middle East on a host of issues, has fostered a close relationship with MBS for months, White House officials have said. Early in Trump's presidency, Kushner correctly viewed MBS was ascendant, a view validated when the prince's 82-year-old father, King Salman, handed over some power to the prince.

Kushner, in an effort to deepen that bond, took an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia in October, where he met directly with the crown prince.

Democrats close the letter with a direct appeal to Wray: "We urge the department to investigate these allegations, and we appreciate your attention to this matter."

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