United States probe into Trump links to Russian Federation hots up

Cheryl Sanders
June 2, 2017

Tuesday's resignation by Mike Dubke, President Trump's communications director, in the midst of a rumored staff shake-up suggest the White House may see the current imbroglio as more of a messaging problem then a national security question.

According to media reports, senior adviser Jared Kushner is under Federal Bureau of Investigation scrutiny for his relationship with Russian officials during the transition period before Trump took office.

Rep. Sean DuffySean DuffyGOP rep: Kushner should have disclosed Russia meeting GOP lawmaker clashes with CNN anchor over Russia probe Allow peaceful, law-abiding working immigrants out of the shadows MORE (R-Wis.) says White House adviser Jared Kushner should have disclosed meetings he had with Russian officials when seeking security clearance.

The Monday Fox News report, which Trump retweeted on Tuesday, laid blame on the Russians rather than Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, for discussing the possibility of a communications back channel between the Trump administration and Moscow.

"I honestly can't say that it's going to be a wave", one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters at the White House.

"I think that assumes a lot", Spicer replied.

Although questions have been raised about Kushner's contacts with the Russians, the FBI has said he is not at the moment under investigation, and he has volunteered to testify before the congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

"I was asked to give an example, and I did it", a testy Spicer shot back. Communications director Michael Dubke has resigned.

Kushner, 36, is married to the president's eldest daughter, Ivanka, and could not be easily replaced in Trump's inner circle.

Trump and Kushner schedule one-on-one talks every day in addition to impromptu meetings, a Trump adviser said. Both announcements could come this week, officials say, offering Trump a chance to drive a news cycle away from Russian Federation. In an early morning round of tweets, the President revealed frustration that his legislative agenda is proceeding slowly, though demonstrated a lack of clarity on Senate rules. "Dems would do it, no doubt!" he wrote, even though a proposed health care bill would only require a simple majority for passage (there remain concerns enough Republicans will back it).

"We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & military", Trump fired back on Tuesday. "Very bad for U.S. This will change".

"Russian officials must be laughing at the USA & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News", he declared.

Kushner has also served as the point person for officials from Canada, Mexico, Germany and China, though he has tried to direct daily contacts to the State Department and National Security Council. It was their first opportunity to question Spicer about a Washington Post report published late last week.

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