Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, spoke in December with Russia's Ambassador to the USA about establishing a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and Moscow to discuss strategy in Syria and other policy issues, according to three people with knowledge of the discussion.
Mr Trump's private legal team, led by his NY lawyer, Mr Marc Kasowitz, was preparing to meet in Washington to face new questions about contact between Mr Kushner and representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"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".
Mr Kushner, who is married to Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka and is a special adviser to the President, is facing an investigation into claims he spoke with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, about establishing a secret channel between the presidential transition team and Moscow to discuss the war in Syria and other issues.
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on December 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by US officials.
Kelly's comments, the closest anyone from the Trump administration has come to confirming reports that Kushner sought secret talks with the Russians before Inauguration Day, came the morning after the president returned to the US from his first overseas trip.
Some Democrats said Kushner's national security clearance might have to be revoked. The remarks come amid a report on Saturday that Kushner discussed a secret channel to discuss USA military operations in Syria and other matters with the Russians.More news: Notre Dame students stage walkout protest of VP Pence
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Trump later said on Twitter U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was "very angry" over US intelligence leaks linked to the May 22 suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. "#FakeNews is the enemy!".
Kushner's lawyers have said he was willing to talk with investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign.
Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Reuters reported.
The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner's attendance until March. National security advisor H.R. McMaster told reporters on Saturday that so-called back-channeling was not unusual.
"They are not our friends", he said.
Kelly told "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that with countries such as Russian Federation that are not allies of the USA, any means of communication "is a good thing".
The White House is preparing to establish a "war room" to combat mounting questions about ties between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign, a scandal that has threatened to consume his young presidency.
"I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion".