Kushner wanted 'link' with Russian Federation
- Author: Carolyn Briggs May 29, 2017,
May 29, 2017, 23:12
Kushner, who is married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka, discussed the possibility of setting up secure line of communication with Russia in a meeting with Moscow's ambassador Sergey Kisylak on December 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to reports citing intercepts of Russian communications analyzed by USA officials.
The White House also grappled with reports that Kushner proposed setting up a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting. By early this year, Kushner had become a focus of the FBI investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, said two other sources - one current and one former law enforcement official.
Trump wrote. Trump's tweets came as the media reported that the White House was preparing to establish a "war room" to combat mounting questions about ties between Russian Federation and his presidential campaign. Kushner spoke with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the USA, about creating the secret line to make it easier to hold sensitive discussions about the conflict in Syria, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team. But he said on "Fox News Sunday" that "any channel of communications back or otherwise with a country like Russian Federation is a good thing".
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.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told ABC News Sunday that it was "acceptable" to create secret lines of communications with foreign states. He said this latest controversy comes at an inopportune time as Trump returns from his first foreign trip. The California Democrat urged a review of Kushner's security clearance "to find out whether he was truthful".
"Could it be a ruse" by Russian Federation to get Americans to suspect Kushner?
"The FBI's Russian Federation investigation reached Trump's backyard, and now it's in his house", the DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson said in a statement Thursday. Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned in February over undisclosed meetings with Russian officials, was present at the meeting.
The Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, has requested information and documents from Trump's campaign dating back to July 2015, the AP confirmed. Officials said he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call.
But the revelations about Mr Kushner threaten to dominate the political agenda following Mr Trump's nine-day tour of the Middle East and Europe, where glittering Saudi welcomes and sharp-elbowed squabbles with European allies pushed the simmering Russian Federation scandal into the background. He remains an influential confidant within the White House as does his wife, Ivanka Trump.