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Jared Kushner Back Channel With Russia Involved Syria

29 May 2017

During the presidential campaign, Trump used Twitter as his main means of communicating with voters, a method that proved effective and far cheaper than advertising campaigns used by his opponents. But McMaster said, "generally speaking", he would not be concerned about such an action.

Asked if such communications were a big deal, Kelly said: "any time you have channels of communication with a country, particularly one like Russian Federation, I wouldn't criticize it".

Kushner, who serves as senior adviser to Trump, has drawn the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation because he considered setting up a secret line of communications between the incoming administration and the Russian government, primarily to discuss a resolution to the crisis in Syria, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Washington Post report states the White House plans to "aggressively combat the cascading revelations" about contacts between Russian Federation and Trump associates, including the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Mr Kushner'€™s was one of the names that was revealed, the official said, prompting a closer look at the President'€™s son-in-law'€™s dealings with Mr Kislyak and other Russians.

The Post reported last week that the Russian Federation investigation had been extended to a top White House official as a "significant person of interest". National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who appeared with Cohn at a briefing late Friday, quickly jumped in to reiterate that Trump would make a decision based "on what's best for the American people".

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The backchannel would also have been unusual as it would have used Russian hardware at its embassies in the U.S., the report added.

Flynn was pushed out of the White House in February after officials said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed US sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call.

The Post said the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, was surprised by the future White House aide's idea of a secret channel and passed it on to the Kremlin.

The back-channel would have allowed The Donald and his then-transition team to communicate with Vladimir Putin without being monitored by US national intelligence officials.

Kislyak reportedly told higher-ups in Moscow that Kushner suggested the proposal in a meeting at Trump Tower - which former national security adviser Michael Flynn also attended - in December.

Exactly what investigators want to know from Kushner (whose lawyer said he will cooperate) isn't clear. Flynn was sacked in February, officials saying he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call. But they did not dismiss the idea that the administration would go outside normal USA government and diplomatic channels for communications with other countries. "We're not going to comment on Jared".

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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.

Kushner was a trusted Trump adviser a year ago, overseeing the campaign's digital strategy.

Meeting with reporters in Sicily, two Trump advisers refused to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat.

Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said Kushner did not remember any calls with Kislyak between April and November.

Earlier, Kushner was named in news reports as a focus of the FBI investigation into alleged Russian tampering with the USA election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Two of the alleged calls took place between April and November of past year. Trump threatened former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey over Twitter, suggesting he may have secretly recorded conversations with the fired official, and he has accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, without evidence. His plan moving forward is to keep his head down and focus on his work, including turning his attention back to building his Office of American Innovation now that the foreign trip is behind him.

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