I am an African-American male with a Ph.D. and post-doctoral studies in Theology and Philosophy. Contrary to the TAK (Traditional Analysis of Knowledge), I believe that Inspiration is also a source of knowledge, therefore my blog, Provocative Inspiration
(Donald Trump with his daughter Tiffany, left, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, June 7, 2016, in Briarcliff Manor, New York.Mary Altaffer/AP)
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, met with the CEO of Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank in December 2016, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The meeting — which had not previously been disclosed and came on the heels of Kushner's meeting with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, at Trump Tower — recently caught the eye of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether any members of Trump's campaign were complicit.
Kislyak reportedly orchestrated the meeting between Kushner and Vnesheconombank CEO Sergey N. Gorkov, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank's management team, Bloomberg reported last year.
Gorkov, who graduated from the Federal Security Service (FSB) Academy of Russia in 1994, was the vice-president of Russia's state-controlled Sberbank before joining Vnesheconombank.
Putin first revamped Vnesheconombank, known as Russia's bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, in 2007. The Russian leader turned it into "a pillar of his Kremlin-driven economy at the height of the oil boom" and took "personal control over key lending decisions," according to Bloomberg, which characterized it as "the bank that financed Vladimir Putin’s grandest ambitions."
"When oil prices were high, VEB lent huge sums to politically expedient but financially questionable initiatives such as infrastructure projects for the 2014 Winter Sochi Olympics," Reuters reported last year.
(Chairman of Russian state development bank VEB Sergei Gorkov in Moscow, March 16, 2017.Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)
Between 2012 and 2014, Vnesheconombank was used as cover for Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov as he attempted to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources for Moscow, according to the Department of Justice. Before that, Buryakov used Vnesheconombank as a cover to spy and recruit assets in South Africa.
The bank had huge success between 2007 and 2014, but it all came crashing down when oil prices tanked and President Barack Obama levied sanctions on Kremlin officials and entities over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
By February 2016, the bank — whose stated official mission is to "take efforts to make the Russian economy more competitive, diversify it, and foster investment" — was struggling to find enough cash to stay afloat. Its bailout needs had increased to $16 billion between 2016 and 2020, Reuters reported.
Kushner's meeting with Gorkov, the struggling bank's CEO, came as Kushner was trying to find investors for a Fifth Avenue office building in Manhattan that is set to be heavily financed by Anbang Insurance Group, a firm with ties to the Chinese government.
White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The Times on Monday that the "Kushner Tower" project wasn't discussed during his meeting with Gorkov, and a White House official said in a statement that Kushner took the meetings as part of his role as "the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials