Trump braces to defend top aide over new Russian Federation calls

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

The administration had hoped Trump's nine-day turn in the worldwide spotlight as his first foreign trip unfolded would offer a respite from the relentless coverage - marked by an endless barrage of explosive revelations - of an ever-widening probe into Russian meddling in last year's election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

President Trump released a statement to The New York Times on Sunday, offering praise for his son-in-law. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars.

"And you hear people now, very close to the president, openly saying that it is too much, that he now finds himself at the centre of this investigation, even if he is ultimately completely cleared, he is at the centre of this investigation right now".

According to news reports published while Trump was away on his trip, Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed discussions with the Russian ambassador about opening a secret back channel of communications to avoid monitoring by United States communications systems.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is on the defensive amid reports that the president's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner had proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team.

The White House faces mounting questions about potential ties between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign, which are also the subject of criminal and congressional investigations.

Kelly told "Fox News Sunday" there was nothing wrong with the Trump transition team trying to build relationships with the Russians as they prepared to take over the White House. Schiff said that if he had confirmation of the allegations, Kushner's security clearance should be revoked. CNN reported on Thursday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into Kushner's many roles on both Trump's transition team and in the White House.

Kushner's representative says he is willing to share what he knows about these meetings with Congress or any other investigator.

The disclosure of the back channel put the White House on the defensive.

The talks between Mr Kushner and the Russians, if confirmed, would raise new questions about the Trump team's relationship with Moscow, which USA intelligence agencies say tried to sway the November election in the property tycoon's favour.

The New York-based Kasowitz has always been the President's lawyer and is helping represent him on matters related to the inquiry into his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation.

Mr Kushner had been regarded as an ascendent figure in the White House and a flag-bearer for the more moderate voices in the administration.

The Washington Post and New York Times reported on the discussions earlier Friday.

But Trump did not mention another high-profile leak - his own leak of an ally's classified intelligence to Russian diplomats.

Kushner was joined by Michael Flynn, the retired general who would resign as Trump's national security adviser after reports that he secretly spoke with Kislyak about sanctions.

Though that's not the likeliest scenario today, it's entirely possible that Kushner could soon enough come to hold less sway in the often-bumbling administration.

Separately, Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation into a property deal involving the company run by Mr Kushner's family which was marketed to Chinese investors.

Other reports by iNewsToday