Trump braces to defend top aide over new Russian Federation calls

"Back-channel communications with people are ways to communicate with people, again not in front of the press, as an example, but that information is not necessarily kept secret from the rest of the government", Kelly added. He talked to Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak about opening up a line of communication to explore options as the new administration developed a Syria policy, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Kushner proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more hard to monitor, according to The Washington Post.

The sources stress the conversation with the president's son-in-law was focused on the US response to the crisis in Syria and other policy -related matters. Also present at the meeting was Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is being investigated into whether he accepted money from foreign governments without the required approval.

For Shinzo Abe, Theresa May and Xi Jinping, the path to meeting with Trump ran through Kushner.

The report was the latest to emerge about discussions between President Donald Trump's inner circle and Russian officials. And a lot of his White House staff was frankly thrilled that the president had not gone on his Twitter rants.

He declared his "total confidence" in Kushner, who boasts an enormous portfolio of domestic and worldwide responsibilities, underscoring his importance as Trump's chief adviser despite having no experience in politics before the 2016 White House race.

The Post reported that Kislyak 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 for as the Trump team.

Mr Kushner has yet to publicly comment on the revelations. An official representing the Kushner firm responded to ABC News' questions on March 29, 2017, saying Kushner was the only executive from his family's real estate firm to attend.

"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday in Munich. He is the only person now in the White House known to be under investigation. That's potentially bad news for Jared Kushner. But he said that as long as the information was shared with the USA government, it didn't represent a problem.

Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser Lt Gen H R McMaster have discussed that, and "in general terms, back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy", he said.

The disclosure of the back channel has put the White House on the defensive. "And that's really all that we know".

The Post and other media have been careful to note that their sources did not say Kushner was a "target" of the investigation, nor that he was accused of any wrongdoing. Knives are said to be out for Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, and Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary.

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. Through his lawyer, he has repeated an offer to cooperate with official investigators.

DETROW: For sure. I think most climate experts say that the Paris Agreement doesn't go far enough to begin with. "I don't think it is standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position".

  • Leroy Wright