Counterintelligence officials are looking into Ivanka Trump’s international business deals, two sources familiar with the matter said.
A U.S. official and a former U.S. official said that the FBI is scrutinizing the negotiations and financing surrounding Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. This could present an obstacle for Ivanka who is trying to obtain a full security clearance in her role as adviser to her father, President Donald Trump, CNN reports, adding that even though it is common practice for foreign contacts and international business deals to be investigated as part of a background check, the complexity of the Trump Organization’s business deals presents a challenge.
According to a U.S. official, the FBI’s purpose in probing the international business dealings of both Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner is to determine whether any of those deals could leave them vulnerable to pressure from foreign agents.
The Vancouver building in question opened a year ago, in February 2017, but like other Trump projects, the Trump Organization does not own it. Instead, it receives licensing and marketing fees from the developer, Joo Kim Tiah.
President Trump’s June financial disclosure form said the Trump Organization made more than $5 million in royalties from the Vancouver property. However, it is unclear why investigators are looking into this particular deal. Some speculate that it may be the timing of the deal – just after Trump took office – that is of interest. Another possibility is that the flow of foreign money could be sparking interest.
A recent Washington Post report said that since Kushner became a senior adviser to the president, officials in countries including China have sought ways to make use of Kushner’s web of business deals to manipulate him.
“CNN is wrong that any hurdle, obstacle, concern, red flag or problem has been raised with respect to Ms. Trump or her clearance application,” said Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s ethics counsel. “Nothing in the new White House policy has changed Ms. Trump’s ability to do the same work she has been doing since she joined the Administration.”
Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer for the Trump Organization also claimed that the Trump Organization’s role was “limited to licensing its brand and managing the hotel” and could, therefore, have had no “involvement in the financing of the project or the sale of units.”