AP reports Kushner back channel with Russia involved Syria

A news briefing here at the conclusion of Trump's maiden foreign trip was overtaken at times by questions about Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, and Friday's Washington Post report that Kushner had discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.

The information, which Kislyak relayed to Moscow after their meeting on December 1 or 2, was intercepted by the U.S. intelligence agencies, the daily said quoting an unnamed U.S. official briefed on intelligence reports. But former national security officials who worked for both Republican and Democrat administrations said the allegations were very serious.

The sources stress that the talk between Kushner and the Russian envoy about communications was focused on the USA response to the crisis in Syria and other policy-related matters.

And Oleg Deripaska, a Russian once close to Trump's former campaign manager, has offered to cooperate with congressional bodies probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, The New York Times reported Friday.

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller.

The White House declined to comment on the story and the Russian Embassy didn't respond to requests for comment, the Washington Post said.

Speaking broadly speaking about Trump's foreign trip, Cohn said the "the president was able to make some of the most unbelievable deals that have been made by an administration ever". This report adds to the growing number of questions he might have to face when he gets back.

Other members of Trump's presidential campaign, namely, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Carter Page, had had close ties to Russian Federation even before spring 2016.

Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow and said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications, which could bypass diplomats and intelligence agencies, the paper reported. However, Kushner is becoming the central focus of the investigation, which could take a gloomy turn for the Trump presidency if his alleged ties to Russian Federation are confirmed. Flynn, who also finds himself at the center of the Russia probe, was also reportedly present at the meeting, and a little later he reportedly had a phone conversation with the Russian ambassador to discuss Western sanctions imposed on Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Flynn remains under federal investigation in Virginia over his foreign business ties and was interviewed by the FBI in January about his contacts with Kislyak.

The three people were not authorised to discuss the December meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to Reuters, Kushner also held at least two phone calls between April and November of previous year with Kislyak, who's represented Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington since 2008.

The request from the Senate Intelligence Committee arrived last week at campaign headquarters in NY.

Kushner's lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, told CNN in response to the Reuters report: "Mr. Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period. The answer to that is a big yes".

Meeting with reporters in Sicily, two Trump advisers refused to address the contents of Kushner's December meeting with the Russian diplomat.

"Really, being spoken to, does not confer a target status on the individual", he said. "He has no recollection of the calls as described", Gorelick told Politico in a statement. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry".

The Post's report capped off a bad week for Kushner.

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