Kushner wanted secret communication channel with Russia

Carla Harmon
May 28, 2017

While the White House confirmed that encounter in March, it was reported on Friday that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.

Current and former US intelligence officials said that although Russian diplomats have secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner's apparent request for access to such channels was extraordinary.

Michael Flynn, Mr Trump's first national security adviser, also allegedly attended the meeting. Mr. Kislyak discussed the proposal with his superiors in Moscow, and that conversation was intercepted by USA intelligence, the Post reported.

The request appeared "extremely naive or absolutely insane", to one former senior intelligence official who spoke to the Post.

One former U.S. senior intelligence official was quoted as saying that the suggestion of a secret channel with the Kremlin "seems extremely naive or absolutely crazy".

In response to repeated questions from reporters, Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn said, "We're not going to comment on Jared".


This could be used to discuss Syria and other policy issues.

Cohn, asked to explain his comment Friday that the president's view on the Paris climate accord is evolving, said Trump is "continuously talking to people about the issue to gain more knowledge about the issue". In a written statement, Kushner's attorney said, "Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings".

NBC News reported on Thursday that Kushner was under scrutiny by the FBI, in the first sign that the investigation, which began last July, has reached the president's inner circle.

In a separate development, the Washington Post also reported that the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, has asked Trump's political organization to produce all documents, emails and phone records dating from his campaign's launch in June 2015.

On Saturday, Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster told the Washington Post that he "would not be concerned" about the existence of a clandestine communication line between Trump's team and Russian Federation, though he refused to comment specifically on the developing allegations against Kushner.

Mr Trump and his advisers are believed to be looking at ways to change the way the White House communicates with the public - with more campaign-style rallies one of the apparent alterations being considered.


His lawyer later said it was a mistake, telling the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he would amend the forms.

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

Mr Kushner has said he did not discuss sanctions with Mr Gorkov.

He said the Trump administration at the senior levels was being "consumed by its own hubris" in how it engaged with global actors.

Though he has not been charged with any crime or been accused of any wrongdoing and has not even been described as a "target", his emergence as a key figure in the investigation puts the spotlight on the First Family. The committee also is seeking materials dating back almost four years to the Obama administration.


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