Kushner back channel with Russia involved Syria

Author

29 May, 2017

Mr Trump is on his way back to the USA, following a G7 summit and meetings with EU, Nato and Middle Eastern leaders.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he didn't know if the news reports were true but described back-channel communications as a "good thing".

The intent was to connect Trump's chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, said this person, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and spoke on the condition of anonymity. It did not specify what came of Mr Kushner's alleged pitch, if anything.

The stalemate leaves the country's future role in the climate accord in flux, although Mr Trump promised to make a decision in the week ahead on whether the United States would be the first of 195 signatories to pull out.

Officials in the White House have also believed to have held discussions about setting up a "War Room" to shield the day-to-day running of the presidency from the various investigations underway. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry". "I think that was enormously helpful", Quinn said.

Trump called his maiden trip overseas a "home run", but while the White House had hoped it would serve as a reset, attention on the Russian Federation probe has only increased. These only increased after the firing earlier this month of FBI Director James Comey.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The White House has already been testing this strategy, sending Spicer to the podium along with another top staffer to talk about the news of the day: Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on budget issues, for instance, or McMaster on questions of national security.

The news reports are based on unnamed sources.

Acosta tweeted late Saturday night that Kushner intends to fully cooperate with US officials in their investigation.

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Mr Kushner reportedly took part in discussions about a backchannel with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, in December. She added: "Mr Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period".

Kushner's lawyer, while not addressing the alleged communications channel, said Kushner would cooperate with any investigations. But why their investigation has led them to Kushner is clearer.

The Post reported last week that the Russian Federation investigation had been extended to a top White House official as a "significant person of interest".

White House officials are also trying to find ways to revive Trump's stalled policy agenda in Congress and to more broadly overhaul the way the White House communicates with the public.

The Times reported that Flynn was at the centre of the idea.

The Post reported earlier in the week that Kushner - who helped plan the Middle East portion of Trump's trip and traveled with the president to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican - is now a focus of the FBI investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Meanwhile, some leading Republicans cast doubts on the Post story's plausibility, suggesting the whole episode may be a Russian ruse to throw America's political system into an even deeper tailspin.

The Senate and House Intelligence committees also are investigating, but not with an eye to bringing criminal charges.

The alleged proposal was made at a meeting on December 1 or December 2 at Trump Tower in NY with Russia's Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, weeks before Trump took office. The banker, Sergey Gorkov, is the head of VEB Bank, a state-owned Russian entity that is the subject of USA government sanctions.

Kushner was a trusted Trump adviser previous year, overseeing the campaign's digital strategy, and remains an influential confidant within the White House.


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