Concerns over Jared Kushner's secret Russian 'back channel'

Keith Crain is Editor-in Chief of Automotive News

Keith Crain is Editor-in Chief of Automotive News

He said he has not asked Trump whether the president believes human activity is contributing to climate change.

The latest reports hit close to the Oval Office, alleging that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner proposed secret back-channel communications with Russian Federation during the presidential transition.

Shortly after the tweets, Mr Trump's Homeland Security Secretary, Mr John Kelly, made the rounds of Sunday television news shows to describe any so-called back channel communications, especially with Russian Federation, as "a good thing".

Trump returned to Washington on Saturday from a nine-day foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican City, Brussels and Italy.

The 36-year-old Kushner, a NY real estate executive before joining Trump's White House staff, is married to Trump's oldest daughter Ivanka, who is also a White House adviser.

"The reasons for my departure are personal", he said in an email obtained by the New York Times.

The President has publicly come out in support of Mr Kushner, saying: "I have total confidence in him". Kushner, Trump added, is "respected by virtually everyone" and "is a very good person".

Is Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the one really running the show?

Cleveland fires 1 officer, suspends 2nd in Rice shooting
The city of Cleveland has fired one police officer and suspended a second involved in the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice . Williams said the department now makes sure to read through all applicants' personnel files and employment history.

"As they build relationships, there's nothing wrong with that", Kelly said.

We have back-channel communication with a number of countries.

Mr Michael Flynn, who was Mr Trump's national security adviser for just 24 days before being fired amid questions about meetings he held with the Russian ambassador, was also present, the newspaper reported.

Now, according to the New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional investigators are said to be probing what was said during Mr Kushner's 30-minute meeting with Mr Gorkov, chairman of the state-owned Vnesheconombank and an associate of President Putin.

Media reports have speculated about a coming shakeup at the White House in part because of the investigation of Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

Sean Spicer's first (and very possibly last) appearance before the White House press corps since returning from the president's overseas visit was a characteristically combative performance. Tensions were eased after then-President John F. Kennedy used back-channel communications with his counterpart, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev. He is still working at the White House and has not set a departure date yet. Some foreign affairs experts said the move, while former president Barack Obama had weeks left in his term, anxious them that it could undermine US security and some opposition Democrats have suggested that Kushner's security clearance should be revoked.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said it was "obviously very concerning" if a key Trump campaign figure was possibly seeking secret communications during the transition period with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in the 2016 USA presidential election.

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