Jared Kushner Reportedly Discussed Setting Up Secret Communication Channel With Moscow
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 27, 2017,
May 27, 2017, 17:47
In yet another report based on anonymous sources, the Washington Post reported Friday that Jared Kushner, President Trump's top aide and son-in-law, was attempting to secure a secret channel of communication between the Russian government and the Trump transition team.
The statement from attorney Jamie Gorelick was issued Thursday amid reports that the FBI was investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russian officials.
In this May 23, 2017, photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, left, and his wife Ivanka Trump watch during a visit by President Donald Trump to Yad Vashem to honor the victims of the Holocaust in Jerusalem.
Those contacts allegedly included two phone calls between April and November 2016.
Former national security advisor Flynn was forced to resign in February - 24 days into Trump's presidency - after he was found to have misled administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his communications with Ambassador Kislyak.
NBC News earlier reported Mr Kushner was under scrutiny by the FBI, in the first sign the investigation, which began last July, had reached the President's inner circle.
The Senate and House Intelligence Committees also are investigating, but not with an eye to bringing criminal charges. Flynn was also present at the early-December meeting, and later that month, Flynn held a call with Kislyak to discuss USA -imposed sanctions against Russian Federation.
Jeff Sessions, the current attorney general, said he had no contacts with the Russians during his confirmation hearing-then admitted he did. The Post said Kislyak was reportedly "taken aback" by the suggestion. The White House did not acknowledge any other contacts between Mr Kushner and Russian officials.
The request to Trump's political operatives represents the first time that Trump's official campaign structure has been drawn into the Senate committee's ongoing bipartisan investigation.
Kushner has acknowledged meeting during the transition with Russia's ambassador and separately with the head of a Russian bank.
Their report quotes unidentified current and former U.S. officials, who said two of these contacts were phone calls. The bank is under U.S. sanctions and was implicated in a 2015 espionage case in which one of its NY executives pleaded guilty to spying and was jailed.
The idea was to have Flynn "speak directly with a senior military official in Moscow to discuss Syria and other security issues", The New York Times reported, citing three people with knowledge of the discussion.
Trump's administration has been dogged by concerns about its ties to Russia and questions over whether Trump associates may have cooperated with Russians as they sought to meddle in last year's election on Trump's behalf.
One likely area of interest for investigators would be Mr Kushner's own meetings with Russians, given that such encounters with a variety of Trump associates are at the root of the sprawling probe, now overseen by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller.
ABC News has not independently confirmed this report.