President Trump comes out in support of his son-in-law Jared Kushner
- Author: Carolyn Briggs May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 3:18
Reports that top White House adviser Jared Kushner attempted to establish a secret communication link with Russian Federation has an ex-CIA official wondering if he was acting on his or following orders- and if so, whose orders.
Yesterday, Mr Trump said: "Jared is doing a great job for the country".
"It's my understanding that the White House has pushed back and said [Trump] didn't do that, so I'll take him at his word", Kelly said. He added that the 36-year-old, who has a portfolio ranging from Middle East peace to streamlining the federal bureaucracy, is "respected by virtually everyone" and "is a very good person".
Washington is waiting with bated breath for Senate testimony by former FBI director James Comey, who was sacked by Trump as he oversaw an investigation into possible collusion between the Republican's campaign and Moscow.
The Washington Post reported last week that Kushner and Russian Ambassador Surgey Kislyak met at Trump Tower in December to discuss the possibility of setting up secret, back-channel communications between the President's transition team and officials in Moscow.
The Post reported that "Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications".
Trump retweeted a Fox News article that quoted an anonymous source as saying Kushner's secret communications with a Russian diplomat were about Syria.
The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner's attendance until March.
"Just because you have a back channel, if indeed that's what Jared was after, doesn't mean that he then keeps everything secret".
Following the reports, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) urged Trump to fire his son-in-law from his position as White House advisor. But he describes such efforts to communicate as "a good thing".
Contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials during the campaign coincided with what USA intelligence agencies concluded was a Kremlin effort through computer hacking, fake news and propaganda to boost Trump's chances of winning the White House.
Trump is believed to be considering bringing back Corey Lewandowski, his hard-charging former campaign manager who had been fired for falling foul of the Trump children and Kushner.
Kelly told This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that with countries such as Russian Federation that are not allies of the USA, any means of communication is a "good thing".
Kelly rejected the idea that such a back channel of communication with Russian officials would be damaging to USA security interests.
"You consider it in terms of its reliability", Kelly said. "And he made it very clear that he would see through to the president's global trip".
The President also has an unusual ally coming to his defense in former presidential rival Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. They're staying put but have previously told friends they will continue to evaluate and reassess whether they plan to stay in Washington.