Syria said to be aim of reported back channel

McMaster adds, "we have back channel communications with a number of countries". But Mr. Kushner is not now the subject of a criminal investigation.

It's now clear, however, that Kushner's influence in the White House is rather impressive, as he was part of the President's delegation on his first foreign trip as president earlier this week.

The request from the committee arrived last week at campaign headquarters in NY, according to person familiar with the request who wasn't authorized to discuss the developments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The New York Times could not immediately confirm these details.

The secret channel was supposed to be used to discuss Syria and other policy issues during the transition period between Trump's election in November and his inauguration in January 2017.

Several Trump administration officials declined Saturday to comment on the reports.

On the other hand, such talk might serve as encouragement and give the Russians a pretty good idea of what they had to gain should Trump be elected.

Mr. Trump came into office promising improved relations with Russian Federation on numerous issues, including greater cooperation to try to end the civil war in Syria.

In Washington, though, a newly appointed special counsel is just beginning his investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. "The fact that McMaster has to go out and talk about what the president may or may not have said about [ former Federal Bureau of Investigation director] Comey. all of this stuff feels weird and unusual, and I doubt many national security advisers have been called in to do this particular type of rebuttal or contextualization".

"Hard to fully convey the gravity of this", said Susan Hennessey, a national security fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former lawyer for the National Security Agency, of the Washington Post report. While it's unclear whether it was Kushner's alleged meeting with the Russian ambassador that gave the green light to meddle in the US election, Brennan alleges that the Russians started influencing it around that time.

The interactions between Mr. Trump's advisers and Mr. Kislyak have been a constant source of trouble for the new administration.

Mr. Trump former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned in February after it was revealed he misled Vice President Pence about the nature of his own conversations with Mr. Kislyak.

Mr. Flynn had told Mr. Pence that the two men had merely exchanged holiday pleasantries, when in fact they had discussed sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russian Federation for its campaign to disrupt the election.

Then, during a May 10 Oval Office meeting with Mr. Kislyak and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, Mr. Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence about the Islamic State to the Russians.

McMaster was in Taormina, Italy, on the sideline of the Group of Seven meetings, and he did not speak specifically about Jared Kushner, who is also a senior advisor to Trump.

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

"Russia as a country came up a lot".

Kushner at the time of the alleged conversation was acting in an official capacity on behalf of the incoming administration and was benefiting from an interim clearance.

President Donald Trump says he'll make a final decision next week on whether the USA will stay in the Paris climate agreement.

That's according to a person familiar with the request who wasn't authorized to discuss the developments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee which is investigating any links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, asked the campaign to produce all Russia-related documents, including phone records and emails, dating back to its official start in June 2015.

The person said the request came from Senators Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, and Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, the committee's two senior members.



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