Kushner Attempted to Set Up Direct Line to Putin — NYTimes

White House communications director Mike Dubke is leaving the administration, he said Tuesday, amid swirling speculation about a possible Trump staff shakeup.

Democrats aren't letting President Donald Trump forget his White House meeting with top Russian diplomats, even as he tries to move past allegations of possible collusion between Moscow and his presidential campaign.

The Washington Post reported last week Kushner asked Russian officials if they wanted to set up a secret communications channel between the two countries.

"I think any channel of communication - back or otherwise - with a country like Russian Federation is a good thing", he told Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."You just have to assume, obviously, that what you're getting ... may not be true, they might be working you, but that's the whole point". "He just realizes that this is going to be a part of his presidency, and he's going to allocate additional resources to make sure that it doesn't derail him from the rest of the important work that he's trying to do".

A Republican consultant, Mr Dubke joined the White House team in February after campaign aide Jason Miller - Mr Trump's original choice for communications director - withdrew from consideration.

Kushner's meeting with Gorkov came at the request of Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, whose meeting with several members of Trump's administration during the transition have come under scrutiny.

Trump called his maiden trip overseas a "home run", but while the White House had hoped it would serve as a reset, attention on the Russian Federation probe has only increased.

Back in Washington on Sunday afternoon, Ivanka Trump was spotted outside the White House, chatting with lawyer Marc Kasowitz before boarding an SUV together. Spicer discussed ongoing possible connections to Jared Kushner and Russians, the president's global trip, and other topics.

Coats said he'd been traveling and hadn't spoken to Trump about his Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Current and former US officials told the Times that the meeting might have been part of an effort by Kushner to establish a direct line to the Kremlin outside of established diplomatic channels.

He said: "It has been my great honour to serve President Trump and this administration".

"He's always proven that he is the best messenger not just for what he wants to articulate but that the American people resoundingly chose him as their president", said spokesman Sean Spicer at his daily press briefing.

"With the appointment of (former Federal Bureau of Investigation director) Mr.(Robert) Mueller, we've now hit that stage of a scandal", McCain said on on "Fox News Sunday". As CBS News previously reported, Bossie is being seriously considered for a West Wing post while Lewandowski would position himself as an outside defender of the president and key strategist.

"Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organisations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing and, again, it comes back to whatever the communication is, comes back into the government and shared across the government so it's not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines to any government", he said.

Kushner was also seen as more internationalist than Bannon, who fueled Trump's more isolationist instincts on trade and immigration.

Mr Trump shot back in his preferred venue of Twitter, saying that the "MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany.will change".

  • Larry Hoffman