Trump braces to defend top aide over new Russia calls

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"It's clear that Jared Kushner will be under intense scrutiny at a time when his father-in-law has named him everything but chief cook and bottle washer", Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former top White House adviser to President Barack Obama, told Politico.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, "Whenever you see the words "sources say" in the fake news media, and they don't mention names... it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers".

And former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie are back in the president's orbit, sources confirmed to NBC News, with their prospects of officially joining the administration swirling as Trump seeks out the team that brought him success during the campaign. "He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars".

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

"I think it makes no sense that the Russian ambassador would report back to Moscow on a channel that he most likely knows we're monitoring", Graham told CNN's Dana Bash, claiming that he didn't "trust this story as far as I can throw it".

The Washington Post reported last week Kushner asked Russian officials if they wanted to set up a secret communications channel between the two countries. Kushner is alleged to have spoken with Russia's ambassador to the USA about setting up a back-channel communications network with Moscow during the presidential transition. Representative Adam Schiff said in an interview with ABC News.

"Any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russian Federation is a good thing", Kelly said. "Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us is a good thing". Trump fired Comey after allegedly asking him to drop the probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his close ties to the Kremlin.

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The best news for the White House this week may be that Congress is out of session, meaning no new hearings on issues such as the Russian Federation probe or the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey earlier this month.

"I think that any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russian Federation is a good thing", he said.

Kelly said he did not know if the reports were true, but added that he supports attempts to foster communication with Russian Federation.

The Times published another of its long reports detailing intrigues within the White House, including alleged recent tensions between Trump and Kushner.

"They need to quarantine this stuff and put the investigations in a separate communications operation", said Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel for President Bill Clinton.

Reuters, meanwhile, citing seven unnamed current and former USA officials, reported Friday that Kushner had at least three contacts with the Russian ambassador that he did not previously disclose, including some during the campaign.

While overseas, Trump's longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, joined a still-forming legal team to help the president shoulder the intensifying investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election and his associates' potential involvement.

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