Kushner ties to Russia questioned as Trump blasts media lies
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 29, 2017,
May 29, 2017, 21:44
President Trump is back from his foreign tour and has no shortage of items on his to-do list: Chief among them is containing the Russian Federation crisis, and the Washington Post is reporting that the White House is looking to create a "war room" to do so and fill it with people it calls "some of Trump's more combative campaign aides". The technology would be through the Russian embassy.
Kushner discussed setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and Russian diplomats to shield pre-inaugural discussion from monitoring, according to a report published Friday by The Washington Post and later confirmed by the Associated Press.
The FBI's Russian Federation probe is being overseen by former bureau director Robert Mueller, who was appointed as a special counsel by Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein after Trump fired Comey.
According to Donald Trump, "Fake news" is the enemy; not his alliance with an adversary to the United States or his son-in-law, who wanted to set up a back channel to talk to the Kremlin. The request from the committee arrived last week at campaign headquarters in NY, according to person familiar with the request who wasn't authorized to discuss the developments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly suggested Sunday such a back channel could be positive.
He says the government needs to "get to the bottom" of the allegations, and if they are true, "there's no way" Kushner should keep his security clearance.
Trump also has to decide soon on a Pentagon recommendation to add more USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, as well as boosting reinforcement for the beleaguered Afghan military.
"Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing", he told ABC's Martha Raddatz. 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.
The disclosure of the back channel has put the White House on the defensive.
Speaking on ABC's This Week, Chief White House correspondent Jon Karl said there had been a lot of talk of a shake-up, now that Mr Trump had returned to Washington.
He is considered a person of interest, and the FBI is investigating his alleged role in setting up communications between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
Reuters has reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak previous year, including two phone calls between April and November.
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN he doubted the Kushner reports were accurate.
Trump believed he was facing more of a communications problem than a legal one, despite the intensifying inquiries, one person familiar with his thinking told the AP.
"I do think ultimately we're going to want Mr. Kushner to come before our committee", Schiff said.
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 told Reuters.
Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, including allegations that there may have been collaboration to help Mr Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.