Jared Kushner more than willing to answer Russia-related questions

Elias Hubbard
May 29, 2017

In what appeared to be a reference to the news the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into meetings held between Russian figures and Kushner, Trump wrote in a series of tweets: "It is my opinion that numerous leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media".

Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, including allegations that there may have been collaboration to help Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Schiff said that if he had confirmation of the allegations, Kushner's security clearance should be revoked.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters in an off-camera news conference that he does not find backchannel communications with Russian Federation problematic.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he doesn't know if those reports are true but describes back-channel communications as a "good thing".

The New York Times reported he was expected to meet with lawyers as early as Sunday, quoting aides.

And former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie are back in the president's orbit, sources confirmed to NBC News, with their prospects of officially joining the administration swirling as Trump seeks out the team that brought him success during the campaign.

Before departing Italy for the U.S., White House officials refused to address the reports about Kushner. He unleashed a flurry of tweets on Sunday, lashing out at what he calls the "fake news" media.

Kushner's involvement in the proposed back channel was first reported by The Washington Post, which said he proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more hard to monitor.

But the U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is very concerned.

According to the person familiar with the Kushner meeting, the Trump team eventually felt there was no need for a back channel once Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state on February 1. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described some staffers as speechless when they learned about reports of a purported Russian Federation back channel.

James Clapper, the former national intelligence director, described the general nature of communications between Kushner and Russian Federation as a red flag.

Mr Kushner initially had come to the attention of FBI investigators a year ago as they began scrutinising former national security adviser Michael Flynn's connections with Russian officials, two sources told Reuters.

The main source of tension however, the Times reported citing two people with knowledge of the interaction, was a video earlier this month showing Kushner's sister, Nicole Meyer, courting wealthy Chinese investors to buy stakes in real estate through a controversial government program that offers United States residency in exchange for investment.

Tennessee Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker told USA Today on Sunday night that he felt no urgency in posing those questions and Kushner would speak "when the time is right". Corker said it appears to him that Kushner is "not a target, so I think I would just wait".

Though he had not seen evidence of collusion when he stepped down on January 20, Clapper said all the signs made an FBI investigation not only appropriate but necessary. "They are not our friends".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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