Mueller looking into hedge-fund manager close to Kushner: report

Mueller looking into hedge-fund manager close to Kushner: report
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Richard Gerson, a New York-based hedge-fund manager and close friend of senior White House aide Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDemocrats ask OSC to review whether Kushner violated Hatch Act Democrats ask OSC to review whether Kushner violated Hatch Act Financial disclosure form shows Ivanka Trump earned M from DC Trump hotel MORE, is being scrutinized by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE over his closeness to several meetings between foreign officials and Trump associates, according to an NBC News report.

Gerson has drawn the eye of Mueller investigators due to his proximity to two meetings that top members of the Trump campaign had with United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials including Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, according to the report.

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Gerson was reportedly in Seychelles in January 2017, the same time that Trump adviser and brother to Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE, Erik Prince, was in the country to secretly meet with al-Nahyan and other UAE officials.

During that time, Gerson communicated with George Nader, the businessman who had set up Prince's meeting, as well as with al-Nahyan himself, according to NBC sources.

Gerson had also met with Nader weeks earlier when Trump officials met with Nader and al-Nahyan at the New York Four Seasons hotel, where Kushner himself was also in attendance.

A spokesperson for Gerson told NBC that Gerson knew nothing about the Seychelles meeting between Prince and al-Nahyan despite communicating with the meeting's organizer, and claimed that Gerson has no relationship with Prince.

"Mr. Gerson was on vacation in the Seychelles prior to the meeting you reference. He knew nothing about the meeting, had left before the meeting was reported to have taken place, and has never met or communicated with Erik Prince," the spokesperson told NBC.

The spokesman added that Gerson attended The Four Seasons meeting alongside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who invited Gerson to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations with the officials.

"Mr. Gerson attended the meeting in New York along with Mr. Blair to discuss this issue," the spokesman said.

Mueller is looking into whether the Seychelles meeting between Prince and UAE officials served to set up a back channel between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to news reports.

So far, the special counsel's investigation has spawned a number of charges, though none of them are yet related to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI investigators, while former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJustice Department intervenes, keeps Manafort from being sent to Rikers Island: report Justice Department intervenes, keeps Manafort from being sent to Rikers Island: report The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Supreme Court double jeopardy ruling could impact Manafort MORE is battling charges of tax fraud and money laundering over his lobbying work for pro-Russian political groups in Ukraine.