'A Good Thing': WH, GOPers Defend Kushner On Russia Backchannel Reports

Jun 11, 2017, 09:35
'A Good Thing': WH, GOPers Defend Kushner On Russia Backchannel Reports

The White House has been shaken by an explosive Washington Post report on the eve of his return that said Kushner had met with the Russian ambassador prior to Trump's inauguration and proposed a secret communications link to the Kremlin. But he said on "Fox News Sunday" that "any channel of communications back or otherwise with a country like Russian Federation is a good thing". "I have total confidence in him. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person".

In December - after the election but before Trump assumed office - Kushner met separately with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, and Sergey Gorkov, the head of the government-owned Vnesheconombank, which has been subject to USA sanctions because of its role in Russia's occupation of a part of Ukraine.

The FBI is reportedly looking into Kushner and the Kislyak conversation as part of its probe into Russia's hacking of the 2016 campaign and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The controversy is the latest to tie the most senior ranks of President Donald Trumps administration to Moscow amid multiple investigations into Russian interference in the election.

The piece was based on one anonymous source who claimed that the Russians, and not Kushner, broached the idea of the secret backchannel during the meeting, which was held at Trump Tower and was attended by Russia's ambassador and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

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Kushner, is one of Trump's closest advisers.

The best news for the White House this week may be that Congress is out of session, meaning no new hearings on issues such as the Russian Federation probe or the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey earlier this month.

Raddatz noted that Kushner was not yet in the government, didn't have a security clearance, and "was working potentially at cross-purposes from people who were still in office".

In interviews Sunday, Kelly said he didn't know whether the reports were true. "And as you heard Gen. [H.R.] McMaster, as you heard Secretary [of Homeland Security John] Kelly over this weekend say they are not concerned".

Trump, who was initially expected to stop by the PGA golf tournament hosted at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia, made no public appearances Sunday.

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"I do think there ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid", Schiff said.

I speculated that when Kushner testified, he would "tell the Senate that he wanted to explore opening a discreet channel to Putin, similar to those he established with numerous other global leaders during the transition".

Kushner in March said he was ready to testify about his Russian Federation meetings to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On May 26, The Washington Post reported citing alleged intercepts of Russian communications reviewed by United States officials that Kushner suggested Kislyak using Russian diplomatic facilities to shield the talks ahead of Trump's inauguration from being monitored.

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