Ex-ambassador: Russia is a 'dark cloud' for Trump's administration

Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

The FBI, several congressional committees and a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department are looking into allegations of meddling by Russia in the 2016 USA election and possible ties between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian officials seeking to influence the election. Trump is concluding his first foreign trip as president this week.

The meeting was also attended by Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, the daily said.

Kushner's interactions with Russians - including Kislyak and an executive for a Russian bank under US sanctions - were not acknowledged by the White House until they were exposed in media reports. It did not specify what came of Kushner's alleged pitch, if anything. "We have nothing to announce", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday. CBS News reported that Trump is expected to consider plans for a shakeup of his communications operation upon his return from Europe.

Kushner, 36, is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and the two have become trusted advisors to the President.

According to a source familiar with what transpired, neither meeting discussed sanctions but instead focused on establishing a backchannel to Russia's president.

FBI investigators have a simple reason for believing Jared Kushner can help them determine whether President Donald Trump's campaign helped Russia influence the presidential election: Kushner met with senior Russians during the campaign.

The statement from attorney Jamie Gorelick was issued Thursday amid reports that the FBI was investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russian officials.

The Post and other media have been careful to note that their sources did not say Kushner was a "target" of the investigation, nor that he was accused of any wrongdoing.

But it is clear that Kushner remains at the center of the investigation.

NBC News and The Washington Post first reported that the FBI's ongoing investigation included a look at Kushner, which would place the probe inside the White House.

Todd Hinnen, the former acting head of the Justice Department's national security division, said it would be easy to read too much into investigators' interest in Kushner.

Upon Trump's return from a nine-day overseas trip, the administration will add experienced political professionals and possibly lawyers to handle the Russian Federation probe, which has gained new urgency since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to head the investigation, the sources told Reuters.

Jared Kushner is being scrutinized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for contacts he had with Russian officials.

There are also no reports that Kushner could face formal charges or even that he is under criminal investigation.

  • Zachary Reyes