Kushner sought secret communications with Russia

The Associated Press and other news organizations reported that Kushner in December proposed a back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team.

Kushner first garnered attention from U.S. federal authorities after it was revealed that the senior presidential adviser reportedly had failed to disclose contact with Russia's ambassador to the United States on three different occasions during and after the 2016 race for the White House.

Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, including whether there was any collaboration to help Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, has requested information and documents from Trump's campaign dating back to July 2015, the AP confirmed.

The Post first reported the request, which covers materials such as emails, phone records and documents dating to Trump's first days as a candidate in July 2015.

Those inquiries now include scrutiny of Kushner, the newspaper reported.

The Washington Post reports that Russia's ambassador to the USA has told his superiors that he and Jared Kushner discussed setting up a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin in December.

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 condition of anonymity. The newspaper cited anonymous US officials who were briefed on intelligence reports on intercepted Russian communications.

The channel was never set up.

At the time, a White House official dismissed it as a brief courtesy meeting.

Lt. Gen. HR McMaster, the National Security adviser, on Saturday declined to say whether he would be concerned if a private citizen attempted to set up backchannel communications with a foreign government to influence U.S. foreign policy and said he would not be concerned if a White House official attempted to do so, reports CNN. More attorneys with deep experience in Washington investigations are expected to be added, along with crisis communication experts, to help the White House in the weeks ahead.


He added that he "would not be concerned" about such a communications system.

"There was a lot of give-and-take between the different countries in the room", said Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council. "And the other pattern we have is just a continuous drumbeat of inappropriate contacts with the Russians".

Trump aides traveling with the president in Europe have refused to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat.

Kushner, who organized the president's Middle East stops at the start of the foreign trip, chose to return to Washington several days ago and has kept a low profile since then. He remains an influential confidant within the White House as does his wife, Ivanka Trump.

Mr Kushner's troubles are only one facet of the crisis.

Recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, is starting off an investigation with a broad mandate that will allow him to probe both the possible Russian influence and whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation by firing FBI Director James Comey.

Separately, amid the mounting questions about Russian Federation, three members of Trump's family - his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and Eric's wife, Lara - were said to have met privately with GOP leaders to share their concerns.

Trump was meeting with attorneys at the White House on Sunday, presumably over the latest development in the long-running Russian Federation intelligence saga, news reports said.

The administration had hoped Trump's nine-day turn in the global spotlight would offer a respite from relentless coverage of an ever-widening probe into Russian meddling in last year's election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign - with its endless barrage of newspaper scoops and explosive revelations.

Two others, also familiar with the meeting, insisted that the Trump family did not pressure the RNC to follow their suggestions or to let them control aspects of the party.

He is the only person now in the White House known to be under investigation.


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