Published: Wed, May 31, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Trump retweets report based on anonymous source after blasting anonymous sources

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said Sunday that White House adviser Jared Kushner's security clearance should be reviewed in light of revelations about his meetings with Russian officials before President Donald Trump took office.

Trump said in a statement to The New York Times: "Jared is doing a great job for the country".

The President has publicly come out in support of Mr Kushner, saying: "I have total confidence in him".

And earlier this month, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that Trump had revealed highly classified ISIS-related information to Russian officials during a meeting at the White House.

Kelly did not address a central element of the reports, that Kushner discussed the possibility of using Russian communications channels from a Russian diplomatic outpost to shield from USA intelligence surveillance whatever discussions Trump transition officials wanted to have with Moscow.

Following the reports, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) urged Trump to fire his son-in-law from his position as White House advisor.

President Trump declined to speak with media throughout his entire overseas sojourn after leaving the USA facing accusations of trying to interfere with investigations into links between his presidential campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 United States election.

Trump, when he returned to Washington, quickly assailed news media reports of White House turmoil linked to investigations of his aides and their ties to Russian Federation.

Kushner's involvement in the proposed back channel, first reported by The Washington Post, which said he proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more hard to monitor.

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"Mr. Kushner's responsibilities include Middle East peace, relations with Mexico and China, and modernizing government-along with serving as a sounding board and confidant of the president", the Journal reports.

Meanwhile, Kelly said any such discreet channels of communication could only be a good thing, and it doesn't bother him, in an interview with Fox News.

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".

He is the only person now in the White House known to be under investigation.

Mr Trump immediately sought to dismiss recent news reports as "fake news". NBC's sources say that Kushner "is in a different category from former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who are formally considered subjects of the investigation". Kushner was a private citizen during the campaign and the reported meeting with Kislyak, but later become a special adviser to Trump.

Kushner is also a focus of the FBI's investigation into the Russian Federation probe.

He added: "Whenever you see the words "sources say" in the fake news media, and they don't mention names ... it is very possible that those sources don't exist".

"It is my opinion that numerous leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies", Trump tweeted. The newspaper cited anonymous USA officials who were briefed on intelligence reports on intercepted Russian communications.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told ABC News Sunday that it was "acceptable" to create secret lines of communications with foreign states.

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