Kirill Dmitriev, had been scrutinized by Congress and former special counsel Robert Mueller for his communications with Trump transition officials shortly after Moscow had meddled in the 2016 election. Dmitriev was one of the main participants in the infamous January 2017 Seychelles meeting with former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, in which the two discussed a roadmap for U.S.-Russia cooperation in the new administration. In the years since, Kushner and Dmitriev have communicated—often at a distance, and at times through intermediaries—about ways the U.S. and Russia could work together. The conversations have touched on everything from creating a joint business council to increase investment, to working on a Middle East peace deal, to helping lead negotiations on a recent OPEC deal, to delivering those medical supplies, according to multiple senior officials.
After the 2016 election, President Putin himself tasked Dmitriev directly with trying to make inroads with Trump’s transition team, according to a recent report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee and Robert Mueller’s special counsel report.
Dmitriev began his outreach to Kushner by connecting with George Nader, a Lebanese-American politico close to the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates who helped broker meetings with the incoming Trump administration. Dmitriev’s fund, RDIF, had co-invested with the Emirati sovereign wealth fund on a series of projects and the two men had been in frequent contact. Dmitriev invited Nader to a chess tournament and asked him to invite Kushner, though Nader never passed on the message.
Dmitriev also reached out to Rick Gerson, who ran a New York hedge fund and was a close friend of Kushner’s. Gerson told Dmitriev that he would find the right people to talk to about the plan. In the following days, the pair drafted bullet points for the plan and Dmitriev communicated that he had shared the document with Putin.
Dmitriev and Erik Prince discussed opportunities to improve the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship under the incoming Trump administration and the bullet points that Gerson had helped draft. Nader was also present.
Gerson went to see Kushner at the White House to brief him on Dmitriev and hand him the reconciliation plan. Kushner told the Senate Intelligence Committee during an interview that he gave a copy of that plan to Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Two individuals familiar with the matter said Trump was briefed on the Dmitriev U.S.-Russia reconciliation plan ahead of his first call with Putin on Jan. 28, 2017.
Dmitriev has continued to try and work with U.S. officials on creating a business council where the U.S. and Russia could look for mutually beneficial investment opportunities. In January 2020, Dmitriev went to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to push the message.