Explainer: Was Jared Kushner's attempted 'back-channel' with Russia treasonous


President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Former presidential adviser David Gergen said Friday he believes top Donald Trump aide Jared Kushner should seriously consider taking a "leave of absence" in the wake of the investigation into possible ties between Trump's associates and Russian Federation.

Fresh off Trump's first official trip overseas, his administration is looking for ways to respond more aggressively to allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and revelations of possible ties between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

Dubke's hiring was meant to lighten the load on Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, who had also been handling the duties of communications director during Trump's first month in office.

Former State Department official Dan Fried, who was quoted in Yahoo's story, later clarified to CNN that he did not have first-hand knowledge that the Trump administration would attempt to unilaterally relax Russian Federation sanctions but did reach out to some members of Congress because he was concerned by rumors he had heard from other officials that there was a possibility.

As a response to Josh's tweet on May 27, Politico White House reporter Annie Karni tweeted that Melania's presence was the reason for President Trump's lack of tweeting.

"In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus", Trump said in an interview on Fox News Channel early in his term.

However, Trump has privately and publicly pinned much of the blame for his administration's woes on the communications effort. Spicer said, "The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant".

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Mike Morell, the former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, says he has little confidence in the chain of sources cited in news reports alleging that top White House adviser Jared Kushner discussed setting up a secret back channel with the Russian government during a meeting in December.

He says Trump is best served by having staff around him who know him well. Numerous functions on Obama's BlackBerry were blocked, and a very small handful of people had his phone number or email address, according to former aides.

The Republican-controlled Senate, which confirms Trump's appointments, also faces a packed legislative schedule, leaving it less time to take up nominations.

Finally, Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, could also be asked to provide information and a testimony.

The administration has been fending off questions about a senior aide's alleged attempt to set up a secret back channel of communication with Moscow in the weeks before Trump was took office.

Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign's 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner's own contacts with Russians, according to USA officials briefed on the probe.

Flynn handed in his resignation in February, ousted on grounds that he had misled top White House officials about his contacts with Russian officials.

All the officials demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the conversations. Today's White House press briefing was audio only, but video of the moment being aired on MSNBC can be viewed in the embedded player above. His last day has not yet been determined.