Trump's son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russia


TAORMINA, Italy Asked about reports that Donald Trump's son-in-law had tried to set up a secret channel of communication with Russian Federation before the president took office, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that so-called "back-channeling" was normal.

Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

NPR has not independently confirmed the Post's report.Those inquiries now include scrutiny of Kushner, according to the newspaper.The idea behind the secret communications channel, the three people said, was for Russian military officials to brief Mr. Flynn about the Syrian war and to discuss ways to cooperate there.

Mr Trump's first national security adviser Michael Flynn was said to be present at the meeting.

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

Summing up Trump's trip, McMaster and Gary Cohn, director of the White House's National Economic Council, said there was one topic they would not address: reports that Jared Kushner is under investigation by the FBI for attempting to set up a secret channel to the Russians. The Washington Post was first to report on Friday that Kushner participated in that conversation.

Kushner, 36, a senior White House aide, has not commented.

While these reports in themselves are damning to not only Kushner, but to the President himself, if one was to examine the timeline of alleged meets as well as actions taken by the Obama administration following revelations that Russian Federation had been hacking the DNC, things get quite interesting.

Setting up such a private channel between a foreign leader and a transition team would be unusual, according to the Post, though the State Department, the White House National Security Council, and the us intelligence agencies all have that ability.

However, earlier this year, in March, CNN reported Kushner had "relationship meetings" with Kislyak and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov to discuss issues like sanctions. The distinction is that the investigators do not suspect wrongdoing by Mr. Kushner at this point.

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The key question before the Federal Bureau of Investigation is whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation in its effort to tilt the 2016 U.S. election in the Republican's favor, which included a damaging hack of Democratic campaign emails.

Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC, that not disclosing such contacts "raises a lot of questions".

"We're not going to comment on Jared", Cohn said.

News of the discussion was first reported by The Washington Post.

In a separate development, seven current and former USA officials told Reuters news agency that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Post also reported that Mr. Kushner had proposed the communications channel and that it took Mr. Kislyak by surprise.

The investigation is being led by Robert Mueller, a respected former FBI director who was given broad powers to pursue the case as a special counsel after Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9.

The FBI closely monitors the communications of Russian officials in the United States, and it maintains a almost constant surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. "How would [Kushner] trust that the Russians wouldn't leak it on their side?" a former senior intelligence official asked the Post. Attorney Jamie Gorelick said, "Mr Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings".

What role does Kushner hold in the Trump administration?