Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Kushner proposed back channel with Russia involving policy toward Syria, source says


Kushner is said to have discussed with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the possibility of establishing a direct and secure conduit for communication between Moscow and Trump's transition team, established after Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Jared Kushner, senior advisor of President Donald Trump, shakes hands with Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

McMaster and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, swatted away the questions after reports surfaced that Kushner considered setting up a secret line of communication with Russian Federation to discuss military options in Syria and other matters.

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

"We have backchannel communications with a number of countries", McMaster said.

"I would not be concerned about it", he added. In some cases, people can lose their security clearances and jobs for not properly disclosing foreign contacts.

Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and Central Intelligence Agency, said this morning that such a request would illustrate "ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, [and] contempt". "There is no way this can be explained, from the intelligence perspective".

Speaking to Politico, the legal team of President Donald Trump's son-in-law was pushing back against a Reuters report regarding his contacts with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

He was echoing the sentiment of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who declined to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat to reporters in Sicily over the weekend and suggested that back-channel communications were commonplace and not concerning.

"The bottom line is they need fresh legs; they need more legs", said Barry Bennett, who served as a political adviser to Trump during the general election.

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Schreck is a regional news director for The Associated Press , overseeing coverage of Iran and six Gulf Arab countries. Georgia Tech has many of those students, explaining an incident at the university past year , Bahrami said.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Kislyak told his superiors that he and Kushner discussed setting up a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.

And, "the State Department, the White House National Security Council and USA intelligence agencies all have the ability to set up secure communications channels with foreign leaders, though doing so for a transition team would be unusual".

Flynn was sacked 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 shootings took place at three homes Saturday night - two in Brookhaven and one in Bogue Chitto - about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Jackson, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said. Labeling him a "target" would suggest Kushner was a main suspect of the investigation.

On Saturday, the AP confirmed that 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.

In recent weeks, the White House also brought on Josh Raffel as a spokesman to handle numerous issues in Kushner's portfolio; Raffel works out of a shared office in the West Wing, although he also has space in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The intent was to connect Trump's chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, a person familiar with the discussions told the AP.

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

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