Kushner back channel with Russian Federation 'involved Syria'

Elias Hubbard
May 29, 2017

Kushner was a private citizen at the time, not a U.S. government official although he was acting on behalf of the incoming United States government and in an official capacity having an interim security clearance.

While the FBI is investigating Kushner's contacts with Russian Federation, he is not now a target of that investigation, the current law enforcement official said.

This person says the administration felt there was no need for a back channel once Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was confirmed, and the Trump team chose to communicate with Moscow through more official channels. But he said that in general, "We have backchannel communication with a number of countries".

The aides and advisers who endured the last major independent investigation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue say President Donald Trump and his team are not prepared for how miserable their lives are about to become, NBC News reported.

The New York Times reported that the back channel was intended as a way to discuss Syria and other policy issues, but never was set up.

Big new reports this week have put the spotlight on Jared Kushner, senior White House advisor and son-in-law to President Trump. "We're just not going to comment".

Jared Kushner is a person of interest in the FBI's investigation into his role in setting up communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Following on from a hard meeting with world leaders at a summit in Italy, Mr Trump and his team face reports that Mr Trump's son-on-law - and top White House adviser - Jared Kushner had looked to set up a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team.

"Neither the meeting nor the communications of Americans involved were under US surveillance", the Post reports that officials said.

Last week, when news reports said that a White House official was in the ambit of the investigation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said: "As the President has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity".

The Washington Post first reported on the suggestion Friday, and three people informed about it confirmed it to the New York Times. Kushner discussed the idea with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in December, as the Trump team was preparing its transition to the White House.

No one responded to requests for comments from the Post, including the White House, Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, and the Russian Embassy. At a minimum, the allegations pose a major political problem that could endanger Kushner's White House role and could fuel impeachment talk for Trump.

Mr Kushner is said to be under scrutiny as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC, that not disclosing such contacts "raises a lot of questions".

McMaster was visibly frustrated as he faced a barrage of questions from reporters on Saturday about Kushner's contacts with the Russians.

A White House aide said Saturday that Trump is also considering pushing more modest initiatives in Congress that would stand a better chance of quick passage. Two people familiar with those 18 contacts said Flynn and Kushner were among the Trump associates who spoke to the ambassador by telephone. Kislyak also attended a Trump campaign speech in Washington in April 2016 that Kushner attended.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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