NewsPolitics Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law: What to know about the real estate developer By Nicole Brown email@example.com Updated May 29, 2017 1:56 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has come under scrutiny by the media after reports revealed he had multiple contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Kushner’s conversations are being examined as part of the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s influence in the 2016 presidential election and whether or not Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians, but he is not the subject of a criminal investigation, according to reports. Scroll down for more information about Kushner’s contacts with Russian officials and more facts about the president's son-in-law. He discussed creating a ‘secret communications channel’ with the Russian ambassador Photo Credit: DoD via Getty Images / Dominique A. Pineiro Kushner spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak about a secret communications channel between the United States and Moscow at a meeting in Trump Tower in December 2016, reports say. Ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was also at the meeting. The proposal was to have Flynn speak directly with a military official in Russia about the conflict in Syria and other issues, but the communication channel was never set up, according to the reports. Kushner also had two undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during the presidential campaign, Reuters reported. While Kushner is not the subject of a criminal investigation, his communications with Kislyak and other Russian officials are under scrutiny by the FBI. He is solidly in Trump's inner circle Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Win McNamee Kushner's relationship with the president has been considered the most stable among Trump's advisers, but it could be tested, according to the New York Times. One point of contention between the two was a meeting between Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer and Beijing investors. Meyer was pitching a Kushner Cos. condominium project and attempted to entice the investors with EB-5 visas to the United States, the paper reported. Kushner has also repeatedly attempted to convince Trump to oust his adviser Steve Bannon, but the president has said he will not remove Bannon just because of his feud with Kushner, according to the New York Times. Publicly, however, Trump has defended Kushner. "Jared is doing a great job for the country," he said in a statement on May 28, days after the reports about Kushner's contacts with the Russian ambassador. "I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person." The DOJ says his White House role doesn’t violate anti-nepotism laws Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla Kushner's appointment as an adviser to the president raised questions about anti-nepotism laws, as he is married to Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump. The Department of Justice, however, said in a letter dated Jan. 20, 2017 -- the same day Trump was inaugurated -- that Kushner's appointment does not break any anti-nepotism laws. He had an important role in the campaign Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mandel Ngan Kushner had a quiet, but important role on the Trump campaign. He "helped recruit a sorely needed director of communications, oversaw the creation of an online fundraising system and has had a hand in drafting Mr. Trump's few policy speeches," The New York Times reported in July. Kushner reached out to contacts in Silicon Valley to learn how to use Facebook microtargeting for fundraising and getting Trump's message to the right people. With Kushner's new technique in place the campaign went from selling $8,000 of merchandise a day to $80,000 a day, according to a Forbes article. "In another test, Kushner spent $160,000 to promote a series of low-tech policy videos of Trump talking straight into the camera that collectively generated more than 74 million views," the article says. A Nov. 22 feature on the real estate developer in Forbes credits Kushner with even more, suggesting that without him, Trump may not have won the election. "Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election," Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, told the magazine. "Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources." He has defended Trump’s rhetoric Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt Despite Trump's insulting comments about Muslims, Mexicans, women and others, Kushner insists he knows the real Trump. "I just know a lot of the things that people try to attack him with are just not true or overblown or exaggerations. I know his character. I know who he is, and I obviously would not have supported him if I thought otherwise. If the country gives him a chance, they'll find he won't tolerate hateful rhetoric or behavior," Kushner told Forbes. He became CEO of his family’s company in 2008 Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Kena Betancur Three years after his father went to prison, Jared Kushner took over the family company, becoming chief executive in 2008. He is credited for expanding the company's presence in New York City, as it was primarily a New Jersey real estate company. One of his first decisions was to purchase 666 Fifth Ave. for a record-breaking $1.8 billion. His father went to prison in 2005 Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt Kushner's father, Charles Kushner -- who at the time was running the family's real estate company, Kushner Properties -- was arrested and charged with tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering in 2004. He was convicted of those charges and sentenced to two years in prison in 2005. A U.S. attorney at the time, Chris Christie negotiated the plea deal with Kushner. He was the publisher of the New York Observer Photo Credit: Getty Images / Peter Kramer Kushner purchased the New York Observer for $10 million in 2006. He was 25 at the time. Kushner said he used the money he had earned from closing deals on residential buildings in Cambridge while he was at Harvard. During the Republican primaries, the newspaper endorsed Trump, which led to questions of a conflict of interest. The paper did not endorse any candidate ahead of the general election. After being named as a senior adviser to the president, Kusher said he would transfer the publication to a family trust, with chairman and CEO -- and Kusher's brother-in-law -- Joseph Meyer taking over the as publisher. His grandparents were Holocaust survivors Photo Credit: Getty Images for FINCA / Joe Corrigan Kushner's grandfather and grandmother were Holocaust survivors, and he grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household. He attended the private, yeshiva high school Fisch School in Paramus, N.J. Before Kushner and Ivanka Trump married, Ivanka converted to Judaism. He attended Harvard and NYU Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla Kushner graduated from Harvard College in 2003 with a degree in sociology. His acceptance has been linked to a donation that his father gave to the college, according to the book "The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges -- and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates" by Daniel Golden. Golden says Kushner's father, a New York University alumnus, pledged $2.5 million to Harvard in 1998. "At the time of the pledge, Kushner's older son, Jared, was starting the college admissions process of the Frisch School," he wrote. " 'There was no way anybody in the administration office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,' a former school official told me. 'His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it.' " Kushner later graduated NYU in 2007, earning an MBA and a law degree. Kusher has 3 young children Photo Credit: AFP / Mandel Ngan / Getty Images Kushner and Ivanka Trump have three young children together -- Arabella Rose, Joseph Federick (not pictured) and Theodore James. By Nicole Brown firstname.lastname@example.org Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Ivanka Trump, from runway to White HouseTrump's daughter said she will work in the White House as an unpaid employee. Meet Trump's Cabinet and top appointmentsTrump has had to fill some positions twice. Trump's family tree: Who's whoFrom his five children to his five siblings, get to know Team Trump. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.