Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy

The letter from the Senate panel seeking all documents, emails and telephone records arrived at Trump's campaign committee last week and was addressed to its treasurer, the Post said. The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, who later became Trump's national security adviser.

Flynn was pushed out of the White House in February after officials said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call.

McMaster told American reporters traveling with Trump at the G7 summit in Sicily that the US frequently sets up backchannels to countries for discreet communications.

The revelation is yet another sensational element in the deluge of allegations raising questions about the Trump team's relationship with the Russians, who United States intelligence agencies say tried to sway the November election in Trump's favor and thus deny Hillary Clinton the presidency.

The White House disclosed the meeting between the Trump aides and Kislyak in March and played down its significance.

Multiple attempts to obtain comment from Mr Kushner or his representatives were unsuccessful.

On Thursday, NBC News and the Washington Post reported that Kushner, who held several meetings with Russian officials following the election, is a focus of the probe, making him the first current White House official to be caught up in the probe, although Kushner, who is Trump's son-in-law, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. The White House did not acknowledge any other contacts between Kushner and Russian officials.

Mr Kushner's lawyer has previously said his client would co-operate with any inquiry.

The White House declined to comment on plans for a "war room" but said Trump will be looking to build on momentum it believes it has built up during the president's trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Europe.

The Post reported earlier that investigators are focusing on meetings he held in December with Moscow's ambassador and the head of a Russian bank that has been under United States sanctions since 2014.

The Post also reported that Mr. Kushner had proposed the communications channel and that it took Mr. Kislyak by surprise.

CNN has not yet confirmed the Post's report.

Separately, there were at least 18 undisclosed calls and emails between Trump associates and Kremlin-linked people in the seven months before the November 8 presidential election, including six calls with Kislyak, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

That's according to a person familiar with the request who wasn't authorized to discuss the developments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier this week it was reported that the FBI was investigating his contacts with Russian officials.

"How would he trust that the Russians wouldn't leak it on their side?" said one former senior intelligence official.

Kushner's was one of the names that was revealed, the official said, prompting a closer look at the presidents son-in-laws dealings with Kislyak and other Russians. Per the Post, Kislyak said he talked to Kushner about installing secure lines between the Trump transition and Russian officials at foreign facilities to avoid conversations being monitored. He has no recollection of the calls as described. "Sometimes they do so in order to see if the Americans are in that channel". Moreover, they said, nothing found so far indicates that Mr Trump authorised, or was even aware of, the contacts.

The Post and NBC reported earlier this week that Kushner's communications with Kislyak and meetings with the head of a Russian bank under sanction by the US had drawn attention from the FBI, making him the first current White House employee known to be under federal scrutiny.

  • Zachary Reyes