Kushner and the back story of back channels

Alejandro Massey
June 1, 2017

A top communications aide to President Donald Trump has resigned, in what many inside and outside the White House see as the first exit before a wider overhaul.

It's true that there's a Bannon "faction" and a Jared Kushner "faction", he said.

Rumors of impending shake-ups have come and gone in the Trump White House before.

They also have no qualms about covering President Trump's Twitter feed as news. "Very bad for U.S. This will change", the president wrote in a tweet from his personal account, @realDonaldTrump.

With his wife, Ivanka Trump, according to multiple White House sources, Kushner emerged from the holiday weekend intent on dismissing his increased public scrutiny in connection with the FBI's ongoing Russian Federation probe as nothing more than a public relations problem that will blow over - and act like his special status in the White House has not changed.

NPR has not independently confirmed the claims made in The Post's story, which cites "U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports".

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The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring. "Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing". On one hand, he helped give journalists access to senior White House and Cabinet-level officials on a regular basis.

"But for people associated with the campaign after that campaign has ended and where the Russians during that campaign were helping you, to try to establish a back channel and hide it from your own government, that's a serious allegation", he said. "You have to ask, well, who are they hiding the conversation from?" he said on ABC.

The tweets started at 6:40 a.m. on the East Coast, a bit earlier than usual, with a message that seemed aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been critical of Trump and said Sunday that the days of Europe being able to rely on other countries, especially the United States, is "over to a certain extent".

Kushner initially had come to the attention of FBI investigators past year as they began scrutinizing former national security adviser Michael Flynn's connections with Russian officials, the two sources told Reuters. The way Spicer sees it, the sources close to him said, is that many reporters are obsessed with palace intrigue and minutiae, and are waging a smear campaign against the president.

Though he had not seen evidence of collusion when he stepped down on January 20, Clapper said all the signs made an FBI investigation not only appropriate but necessary. "They are not our friends".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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