Kushner Had No Plans to Set Up Secret Communication With Russia
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 03, 2017,
Jun 03, 2017, 20:31
After he returned from Europe, the president also disparaged White House leaks and "fake news" from the media in a series of tweets, apparently in response to a number of damaging news stories last week, including the Kushner report.
US media said the White House is creating a new rapid-fire communications unit to respond to the controversy, led by Kushner, senior presidential adviser Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
For Kushner's role with the Trump, he reportedly said, "My job is to put him in a good place". He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars.
Lawyers for Kushner said he was willing to talk with federal and congressional investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign.
Trump officials were preparing to establish a "war room" to address an issue that has begun to dominate his young presidency.
US intelligence officials have said that Moscow tried to interfere with the 2016 presidential election by hacking Democratic emails - Trump has expressed that it's simply an excuse for Hillary Clinton supporters.
The Russian banker, Sergey N. Gorkov, is a close associate of Putin's.
Former director of national intelligence James Clapper said Kushner's links with Moscow "certainly arouses your concern about what is going on, given Russian Federation... is our primary adversary".
Kushner's reasoning for setting up the private channel outside of official diplomatic channels was to primarily discuss how the US and Russian Federation could cooperate on ending the civil war in Syria and other policy issues, sources told The New York Times, but the FBI and congressional investigation is looking into whether other items were to be discussed.
"Whenever you see the words "sources say" in the fake news media, and they don't mention names", Trump wrote, "it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!" the U.S. leader wrote, spelling errors and all.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in Bethlehem, Israel, on May 23.
His comments were echoed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. "Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing".
In a familiar refrain, Trump tweeted that it was "fake news", but he is now under considerable pressure, with several investigations under way into his team's links with Russian Federation, which is accused of hacking Democratic Party emails in order to help Trump win the White House.
"Back channels like this are the regular course of business".
Some critics have called for Kushner's security clearance to be revoked, others say he should temporarily step aside while his ties to Moscow are being reviewed. The report was particularly incendiary considering Kushner was named a "person of interest" in the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.