Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s administration argued that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, should step down from his position amid the growing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether members of Trump’s campaign worked with Moscow to influence its outcome.
The Washington Post reports that White House lawyers feared that Kushner’s presence could create legal complications for Trump due to Kushner’s financial interests and the fact that he had several meetings with Russian officials during the campaign and transition period that are being scrutinized by investigators.
The suggestions for Kushner to step down came in July but were ultimately rejected, the Post reports.
The idea was to minimize risk to Trump, sources told the newspaper, and lawyers “would have been dummies” not to consider ways to distance the president from someone who is expected to be a major part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling Justice Department investigation.
The discussions came around the same time that the New York Times revealed that Kushner was among the high-ranking Trump campaign officials—including Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign manager Paul Manafort—who met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 who allegedly promised to deliver the Trump team damaging information on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
In late July, Kushner briefly addressed the media after meeting privately with Senate investigators and said his “actions were proper” during and after the campaign and that he did “not collude with Russia.”
In a statement to the Post, White House lawyer Ty Cobb said the leak of the discussions about having Kushner step down was done by former staffers aiming to hurt Trump.
“Those whose agendas were and remain focused on sabotaging him and his family for misguided personal reasons are no longer around,” Cobb told the newspaper. “All clandestine efforts to undermine him never gained traction.”
You can read all of the Washington Post‘s report here.