An American businessman looked to set up a communications back channel between North Korea and the Trump administration through White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner last year, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
Financier Gabriel Schulze reportedly contacted the Trump administration last summer, saying that a top North Korean official wanted to speak with Kushner about a possible meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Kushner referred the talks to then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, according to the Times, which noted that Kushner may not have contacted then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson because of their tense relationship.
The White House and CIA declined to comment to the Times about Schulze’s reported contact with Kushner.
“I do not discuss the nature of my business or personal relationships,” Schulze told the newspaper in a statement.
Kushner also reportedly created a back channel between Chinese officials and the Trump administration last year.
Kushner and the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. then organized a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to the Times.
Kushner held a series of meetings with the ambassador during the transition without Chinese experts present, a move that concerned former and current U.S. officials, the Times added.
Trump held a summit with Kim last week, the first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and North Korean leader.
The two leaders agreed that the U.S. would provide unspecified security guarantees in exchange for North Korea’s denuclearization. Trump also announced he would halt military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
BY JACQUELINE THOMSEN – 06/17/18