Trump aide sought secret channel with Kremlin

Kushner discussed creating a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Russia's ambassador Sergey Kislyak, The Washington Post reported Friday, citing U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

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

The meeting took place at Trump Tower in NY before November's Presidential Election with former national security adviser Michael Flynn also in attendance.

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and now top White House adviser Jared Kushner proposed setting up a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with a leading Russian diplomat.

The Senate panel's request marked the first time Trump's campaign organization has been drawn into the bipartisan committee's investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, the report said.

On his first official foreign trip the president avoided major gaffes, focusing on key foreign policy objectives such as cementing alliances in the Middle East, and pressing European leaders to contribute more to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation budget. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry", his legal team said in a statement.

The senior White House aide has not commented on the latest reports.

US President Donald Trump with son-in-law Jared Kushner.

On May 19, the Times reported that Trump said during his meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov that he "faced great pressure because of Russia" before firing Comey.

The Washington Post said the 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.

Following the Memorial Day weekend, he will likely have to return to daily news reports about the ongoing FBI investigation into alleged contacts between his campaign and Russian intelligence agencies.

Reuters, citing seven current and former usa officials, also reported Friday that Kushner had previously undisclosed contacts with Russia's ambassador - including two phone calls between April and November of 2016. If the investigation ended with no charges and this was leaked, the credibility of the FBI would be in the crosshairs. Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, told Reuters that Kushner "has no recollection of the calls as described".

While CNN said they have yet to confirm the Post's report, ABC News and the New York Times have confirmed the report with two sources.

Both those meetings have since been publicly acknowledged by the White House, but Kushner initially failed to declare them on forms submitted to obtain a security clearance.

During his election campaign, Trump appeared to called Article 5 into question by suggesting that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members who did not pay their fair share for the alliance may not deserve to benefit from it.

Those investigations include allegations that there may have been collaboration to help Trump and harm Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump has suggested he is being unfairly treated in the Russian Federation investigation, claiming that he was the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in USA political history.

Trump, attending the Group of 7 meeting in Sicily as his first global trek continued Friday, didn't address questions about the ongoing Russian Federation probe.

Former CIA director John Brennan revealed this week that intelligence chiefs had been looking into suspicious contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials since mid-2016.

  • Leroy Wright