Kushner sought Russian Federation back channel, report claims

Flynn, as well as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, have emerged as central figures in the FBI's ongoing Russian Federation probe.

White House officials declined to comment on Saturday, ahead of Trump's return to Washington following his first overseas trip.

Kushner, 36, is a real estate developer who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

On Friday, Reuters also reported at least three instances of previously undisclosed communication between Kushner and Kislyak between April and November of 2016.

Lt Gen McMaster refused to comment on the specific reports against Mr Kushner, but said that he would not be concerned if a government official set up a secret line with Moscow.

Jared Kushner meets with members of a US forward operating base in Iraq Image: Jared Kushner meets military personnel at a US base in Iraq Sky News US Correspondent Amanda Walker said Mr Kushner's name being linked to the investigation "certainly does not play well".

The White House disclosed the meeting between the Trump aides and Kislyak in March and played down its significance.

Through his attorney, Kushner said he didn't remember any calls with Kislyak. "He has no recollection of the calls as described", Gorelick told Politico in a statement. "We have asked for the dates of such alleged calls so we may look into and respond".

Former acting Central Intelligence Agency director John McLaughlan said if such reports are true, Kushner's behavior would be considered espionage.

What allegations are being made against Kushner?

White House officials insisted the briefing be conducted off-camera, preventing photographers or television cameras from documenting it. Flynn apparently would have been the USA point person, the source said. During the presidential campaign, he frequently criticized the Obama administration's Syria policy as unnecessarily antagonistic toward Russian Federation.

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The Washington Post was first to report on Friday that Kushner participated in that conversation.

Indeed, once McMaster and Cohn called an end to their briefing, which lasted about a half-hour, Spicer and other administration spokespeople hurried out of the room. Two people familiar with those 18 contacts said Flynn and Kushner were among the Trump associates who spoke to the ambassador by telephone. The calls focused on how to improve economic relations between the United States and Russian Federation, and how the two countries could better cooperate in the fight against Islamist extremism, Reuters reported, citing six current and former American officials.

Kislyak, according to the Post, told Moscow that it was Kushner's idea to use the Russian diplomatic facilities in the US for this objective.

The Post report cited communications intercepted by US intelligence officials as Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow.

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.

The head of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, a trained intelligence officer whom Putin appointed, met Kushner at Trump Tower in December.

Retired U.S. Navy Officer and MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance also voiced the same concern.

The Post and other media have been careful to note that their sources did not say Kushner was a "target" of the investigation, nor that he was accused of any wrongdoing. Moreover, there's no indication that Trump authorized, or was even aware of, the contacts.

There may not have been anything improper about the contacts, the current law enforcement official stressed.

The Senate and House Intelligence Committees also are investigating, but not with an eye to bringing criminal charges. Mr Trump and his advisers are believed to be looking at ways to change the way the White House communicates with the public - with more campaign-style rallies one of the apparent alterations being considered.

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