Monday, 26 June, 2017

Back-channel communications are nothing new for White House

Steve Phelps | 03 June, 2017, 02:35

President Trump's top aide and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was alleged, in an article in The Washington Post, to be trying to establish a "back channel" of secret communications with the Russian government. Trump himself has also reportedly offered up his personal cell phone number to world leaders.

Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Peter WelchPeter WelchHouse Dems to WH: Revoke Kushner's security clearance Five roadblocks for Trump's T infrastructure plan Hopes of bipartisanship fade amid Comey chaos MORE (D-Vt.), who signed a similar letter with him in April.

David Sanger, National security correspondent, The New York Times; author, "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power".

"Our job, we are focused on the president's agenda, and going forward all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel Marc Kasowitz", said Spicer at an off-camera briefing with reporters.

"He was fully involved with the process of the announcement", said a senior White House official.

President Trump sparked wild speculation and an internet frenzy when he shortly after midnight Wednesday local time, saying: "Despite the constant negative press covfefe".

"Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings", Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement last week. "I have total confidence in him". The "Russia matter" is not insignificant but it must not dominate the Trump presidency.

A separate set of reports surfaced around that same time claiming Kushner also discussed setting up a line of secret communication between Russian Federation and the Trump transition team.

That request, if granted, would be an extraordinary step in the ongoing congressional investigation of the Trump campaign's communications with Russian Federation - and the FBI's inquiry of Kushner's talks with the Kremlin, which have gained greater significance in recent weeks.

The Trump administration has been enveloped in controversy over Russian Federation in recent weeks.

Kushner has also served as the point person for officials from Canada, Mexico, Germany and China, though he has tried to direct daily contacts to the State Department and National Security Council. The White House has declined to confirm or deny that Kushner met with Kislyak in December.

Critics say that before Trump was inaugurated, Kushner made efforts to open a "back-channel" communications link with Russian officials.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner went to synagogue Thursday morning for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, according to the White House. "Certainly people in the White House have more to fear than he does if there's a shakeup".

The Democratic lawmakers' letter asked if Kushner Companies had engaged in any lobbying related to EB-5 program reforms or discussed the program with Kushner since Trump took office in January. "Everything at the White House runs on White House time".

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