Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner should have security clearance reviewed

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner should have security clearance reviewed

Congressional Democrats on Sunday demanded to hear directly from top White House adviser Jared Kushner, over allegations of proposed secret back-channel communications with Russian Federation, saying the security clearance of President Donald Trump's son-in-law may need to be revoked.

However, the eve of his return brought the biggest story to date: A Washington Post report about Kushner's alleged proposal to the Russians to create a secret channel out of the reach of U.S. spymasters.

United States media also said the White House is creating a new rapid-fire communications unit to respond to the controversy, led by Kushner, senior presidential adviser Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Some White House aides have discreetly discussed among themselves whether Mr Kushner should play a lesser role - or even go on leave - at least until the Russia-related issues calm down.

White House officials defended the concept of secret communications channels without commenting specifically on the Kushner case.

The Republican president returned to the White House after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe that ended on Saturday to face more questions about alleged communications between Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington.

In what appeared to be a reference to the news the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into meetings held between Russian figures and Kushner, Trump wrote in a series of tweets: "It is my opinion that numerous leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media". He unleashed a flurry of tweets on Sunday, lashing out at what he calls the "fake news" media.

North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile off western Japan
He said South Korea's military was analyzing how many missiles were fired, indicating that more than one may have been launched. It has tested Scud-type short-range missiles many times in the past, most recently in April, according to USA officials.

Mr Schiff said he expected Mr Kushner to appear before his committee, and suggested his security clearance be reviewed.

The back channel was meant to connect Michael Flynn, who later became Trump's first national security adviser, with Russian military leaders, said the person, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss private policy considerations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The President, who significantly curtailed his presence on Twitter during his first global tour - which took him to Saudi Arabia, Israel, The Vatican, Brussels and Sicily - could certainly be irritated at the revelations regarding Kushner published by The Washington Post last Friday in an article citing "US.officials briefed on intelligence reports". Officials said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call.

The disclosure of the back channel put White House advisers on the defensive, as Trump wrapped up his first foreign trip as president.

During an appearance on ABC's "This Week," Schiff explained the concern isn't simply that Kushner and other members of Trump's campaign and transition team were in contact with the Russians.

Kushner has come under fire since news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador was made public.

"We have back-channel communications with any number of countries", General McMaster said.

DHS chief says reported Russian back-channel not a 'big deal'
Schiff said he expects Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to Trump, will soon be asked to testify before his House committee. The FBI declined to comment, while the Russian embassy said it was policy not to comment on individual diplomatic contacts.

Kelly told "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that with countries such as Russian Federation that are not allies of the USA, any means of communication "is a good thing".

Kushner was a trusted Trump adviser past year, overseeing the campaign's digital strategy. He remains an influential confidant within the White House as does his wife, Ivanka Trump.

In addition, Reuters reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak a year ago, 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".

Investigators are also interested in a meeting Kushner had with the Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, according to reports from The Post and NBC News.

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 Mr Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

While overseas, Trump's longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, joined a still-forming legal team to help the president shoulder the intensifying investigations into Russian interference in the election and his associates' potential involvement. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, noted that Kushner has been willing to answer questions.

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