Senate panel seeks documents from Trump campaign
- Author: Leroy Wright May 28, 2017,
May 28, 2017, 12:36
The back-channel would have allowed The Donald and his then-transition team to communicate with Vladimir Putin without being monitored by US national intelligence officials.
The information, which Kislyak relayed to Moscow after their meeting on December 1 or 2, was intercepted by the U.S. intelligence agencies, the daily said quoting an unnamed USA official briefed on intelligence reports.
Ambassador Nicholas Burns' criticism came after a Washington Post report that Russia's ambassador told Moscow that Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, sought to set up a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.
Reports quoting anonymous sources have so far suggested Mr. Trump's aides and advisers had contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the US and other officials. "We're not going to comment on Jared", he said.
On Friday, Reuters also reported at least three instances of previously undisclosed communication between Kushner and Kislyak between April and November of 2016.
In a separate development, seven current and former USA officials told Reuters news agency that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
U.S. officials told The Washington Post that the aim was to shield pre-inauguration discussions from American monitoring.
"Unthinkable Kushner could stay in the White House", she added.
Kushner discussed the idea with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in December, as the Trump team was preparing its transition to the White House.
Meeting with reporters in Sicily, two Trump advisers refused to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat.
The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner's attendance until March. Those inquiries now include scrutiny of Kushner, according to The Post.
McMaster was in Taormina, Italy, on the sideline of the Group of Seven meetings, and he did not speak specifically about Jared Kushner, who is also a senior advisor to Trump.
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".
In another development, The New York Times reported Friday that Oleg Deripaska, a Russian once close to Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, has offered to cooperate with congressional bodies probing alleged Russian election meddling. The lawyer also said Kushner is ready to talk to investigators and Congress about his contacts with Russian officials.
Recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, is starting off an investigation with a broad mandate that will allow him to probe both the possible Russian influence and whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation by firing FBI Director James Comey.