May 28 U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that numerous leaks from the White House were "fake news", following reports his son-in-law tried to set up a secret channel of communications with Moscow before Trump took office.
But to the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, it's "obviously very concerning" that a key Trump campaign figure was possibly seeking secret communications with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in the 2016 election.
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.
Kushner's legal counsel said after the reports that Kushner was part of the federal investigation, but not a target, his client will talk to federal investigators and Congress about his contacts and his role in the Trump campaign.
"We're not going to comment on Jared", Trump economic aide Gary Cohen said at a press conference in Italy, the last stop on the president's nine-day overseas trip. "I don't know who leaked this information, but just think about it this way-you've got the Ambassador of Russian reporting back to Moscow on an open channel, 'Hey, Jared Kushner's going to move into the embassy!'"
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Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming administration's options with Russian Federation as it was developing its Syria policy, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke with The Associated Press.
Besides the Kushner developments, which strikes at Trump's core by drawing his family into the crisis, the White House also faces a cascade of other worries in the coming week.
Kushner's lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, told CNN in response to the Reuters report: "Mr. Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period".
Mr. Kushner's relationship with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn - who resigned after it emerged that he discussed sanctions with Mr. Kislyak in a conversation wiretapped by U.S intelligence - could also come under the scrutiny of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Trump officials were preparing to establish a "war room" to address an issue that has begun to dominate his young presidency. He has no recollection of the calls as described.
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Graham also expressed doubts on reports that President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner attempted to set up a secret communications channel between the Trump transition and Moscow. Kushner "suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications", the Post reported, in an apparent attempt to try to shield discussions during the transition from monitoring. Flynn was sacked in February, officials saying he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed US sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call.
The 36-year-old Kushner, a real estate developer with no previous government experience, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former US officials told Reuters.
The Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, was surprised by Kushner's idea of the secret channel and passed it on to the Kremlin, the Post said.
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.
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.
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Another potential line of inquiry could concern Kushner's failure to disclose some of his contacts with Russian government officials when he was filling out his application for a security clearance.