HS Sec. Kelly: Kushner's Back Channeling 'Acceptable,' a 'Good Thing'

Russia, a pivotal player in Syria, has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, often at the expense of civilians during a long civil war.

The White House declined to comment on the report, but President Trump tweeted Sunday morning that reports about his administration with attribution to anonymous sources are "fake news".

Contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials during the campaign coincided with what United States intelligence agencies concluded was a Kremlin effort through computer hacking, fake news and propaganda to boost Trump's chances of winning the White House.

Back from a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, Trump on Sunday immediately sought to dismiss recent news reports as "fake news".

It also comes as reports circulate nearly daily that Trump is about to start a major shake-up of White House staff after little more than four months in office.

"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 but are made up by fake news writers".

Jared Kushner, who was a top White House adviser, made the proposal at a meeting with the Russian ambassador to the USA last December, a person familiar with the talks said.

'There is another question about his security clearance and whether he was forthcoming about his contacts on that, ' Schiff said. "If not then there's no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance".

James Clapper, the former national intelligence director, described the general nature of communications between Kushner and Russian Federation as a red flag.

Defence attorneys and former FBI agents say that one likely area of interest for investigators would be Kushner's own meetings with Russians, given that such encounters with a variety of Trump associates are at the root of the sprawling probe, now overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

"It's normal in my opinion and acceptable", Kelly said of the reports that Kushner made the request for a secret communications channel to the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. The fear among Federal Bureau of Investigation officials was that then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, an appointee of the Obama administration, who had recently had a private meeting with Bill Clinton, would be caught in a compromised situation if she were the one closing the case and then the allegedly fake document was made public.

The team chose to communicate with Moscow through more official channels.

According to the person familiar with the Kushner meeting, the Trump team eventually felt there was no need for a back channel once Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state, and chose to communicate with Moscow through more official channels.

Mr Flynn served briefly as Mr Trump's national security adviser but was sacked in February.

The California Democrat says it's a serious allegation to have a key Trump campaign figure seeking secret communications with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in a US election.

Schiff said he disagreed with White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's suggestion that such back-channel communications might be typical and not concerning.

Kushner's lawyer has said his client is willing to talk to federal and congressional investigators about the matter.

Meeting with reporters in Sicily, two Trump advisers refused to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat. "It allows you to communicate in a discreet manner".

The latest developments focus on Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and husband of his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

In addition, Reuters reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak past year, including two phone calls between April and November.

But Mr Kushner's attorney Jamie Gorelick said his client "has no recollection of the calls as described".

According to a report last week in The Washington Post, Comey believed the document was generated by Russian operatives and designed to create a false appearance that the Justice Department had assured Clinton's presidential campaign that the investigation into her private email server would not result in criminal charges.

Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, including allegations that there may have been collaboration to help Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Yet while Mr Trump was largely able, while he was overseas, to keep away from the controversy over his campaign's alleged collusion with Moscow to influence the 2016 election, once he set foot back in Washington it was there to engulf him.

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