Ivanka Trump is under investigation by the FBI for a controversial international business deal, an investigation that could lead both Ivanka and Jared Kushner to exit from the White House, CNN reported this week.
As the report noted, the investigation is apparently centered on whether any foreign agents could be using details of the deal to hold over Ivanka and Jared.
“The FBI has been looking closely at the international business entanglements of both Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, to determine whether any of those deals could leave them vulnerable to pressure from foreign agents, including China, according to a US official,” the report noted.
The news shows that the investigation into the Trump family is both expanding and digging deeper into Donald Trump’s inner circle, the first time that Ivanka has been connected to the investigation. As the report noted, the FBI is looking into the negotiations and financing of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.
As the CNN report noted, the FBI investigation brings a new complication in Ivanka Trump’s application for a full security clearance, which is a necessity for her role as a close adviser to her father, Donald Trump. Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, had been unable to get a full security clearance as well, leading to reports that both are nearing an exit from the White House.
This is not the first time that Ivanka Trump has faced scrutiny for controversial foreign business deals. Last year, the New Yorker highlighted her role in a luxury hotel project in Azerbaijan that was later identified as the center of a major money laundering scheme.
The building at the center of the FBI investigation is not actually owned by the Trump Organization, CNN reported, but rather received licensing and marketing fees from the developer, a member of one of the wealthiest families in Malaysia. The hotel was one of the few Trump-branded properties to open in the 13 months since Donald Trump took office, the report added.
Ivanka Trump has faced building public pressure for her White House position and close relationship with her father. In an interview last week, Ivanka bristled at questions about allegations of sexual misconduct against her father, saying it was an inappropriate question to ask of a daughter. But critics said that Ivanka’s position as a top adviser means facing tough questioning, and they said she was hiding behind her relationship with her father.
It was not clear if the FBI investigation into Ivanka Trump’s foreign business deal was directly connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, CNN noted.