National Security Adviser: 'Not Concerned' About Kushner Back-channel Reports
- Author: Leroy Wright May 28, 2017,
May 28, 2017, 20:49
The FBI is investigating Kushner's meetings with Russian officials, as the son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump and arguably one of the most influential White House advisers has become a person of significant interest in the Russia probe.
The Washington Post said Kushner's secret communications proposal was made December 1 or 2 at Trump Tower in NY, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. "What that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet manner".
"We're not going to comment on Jared, we're just not going to comment", said Gary Cohn, Trump's chief economic adviser, during a press conference in Italy as the president's first overseas visit was winding down.
You can listen to McMaster's remarks above, via MSNBC.
H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, also declined to talk about Kushner and said he had no knowledge of any effort to set up a line of communications to the Russians.
The issue is reportedly of increased concern to the Trump administration following the Justice Department's appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel responsible for leading the Russian Federation investigation.
Kushner has already volunteered to speak with Congress about those meetings, and his attorney says he's willing to cooperate with any additional investigations.
Fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey has promised to testify at an open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee, sometime after Monday's Memorial Day holiday. And it doesn't make sense to me why, if this is true, and it may not be true, why the Trump team would have wanted to use Russian communications.
Investigators are also interested in a meeting Kushner had with the Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, according to reports from The Post and NBC News.
The leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are anxious to speak with Mueller, who's now overseeing the FBI's parallel Russian Federation probe, to ensure their congressional investigations don't interfere.
The Post reported last week that the Russian Federation investigation had been extended to a top White House official as a "significant person of interest". Kislyak told his superiors that Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic buildings within the U.S.to facilitate these communications.
Kushner initially had come to the attention of FBI investigators a year ago as they began scrutinizing former national security adviser Michael Flynn's connections with Russian officials, the two sources said.
Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC, that not disclosing such contacts "raises a lot of questions".
The negative headlines have sparked speculation of a White House shake-up.
Initially on Saturday, McMaster referred the first question about Kushner to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Other members of Trump's campaign already had deep ties to Russian Federation, among them former campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Carter Page.
The FBI's Russian Federation investigation gained increased attention after the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
The news agency anonymously cited current and former USA officials. Mr Trump and his advisers are believed to be looking at ways to change the way the White House communicates with the public - with more campaign-style rallies one of the apparent alterations being considered.