U.S.

Kushner Attempted to Set Up Direct Line to Putin — NYTimes

Kushner Attempted to Set Up Direct Line to Putin — NYTimes

Trump, who returned to Washington on Saturday after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, has been expected to shake up staff to tackle the firestorm over investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and communication between Russia and Trump's campaign and transition team.

Trump, who had been uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter during his nine-day trip overseas, resumed his favourite past-time with fury on Sunday, dismissing allegations of Russian Federation ties as "fake news" and "fabricated lies".

Dubke's hiring helped to ease the burden on White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who also served as communications director before Dubke was hired. His last day has not yet been determined.

Despite earlier speculation that Kushner would be a "moderating" force in the White House, a growing body of evidence suggests that the real estate scion has often pushed Trump in a more confrontational direction.

Before coming to the White House, Dubke was a Republican strategist, notable for his close ties to major party figures like Karl Rove. The position had gone unfilled after campaign aide Jason Miller - Trump's original choice for communications director - backed out of the job in December before the president's inauguration.

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, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press.

It's unclear whether other staff moves are imminent.

As he mulls changes, Trump has entertained bringing his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, formally back into the fold.

"I think he (Putin) is the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS", McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation late Monday. He later added: "It's an ongoing conversation, and that's a fair way to put it".

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press", said he would not confirm the stories about Kushner's conversations, but added that he was "very concerned" about reports of the Trump administration approaching Russian Federation "from a theoretical standpoint".




White House Communications Director Mike Dubke has formally resigned from his post, according to a White House official.

Even when authorized, however, top officials in the Trump White House frequently request anonymity to brief reporters "on background", meaning their names will not be disclosed.

Lawyers for Kushner said he was willing to talk with federal and congressional investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign.

That's potentially bad news for Jared Kushner.

Kelly said that if such a line of communication was set up, the critical thing would have been for Kushner and other transition officials to understand that the information provided by the Russians might be intentionally false. Also present at the meeting was Michael Flynn, the retired general who would become Mr. Trump's short-lived national security adviser, the three people said.

The president has denied any collusion, repeatedly denouncing the probes as an effort by Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton's upset defeat in the White House race.

"Mr. Kushner has consistently said that he will share what he knows about these meetings, and the details pertaining to, which were previously reported in March", she added.

Meanwhile, a parade of senior Republicans appeared on USA airwaves on Sunday to tamp down the story's significance, some saying it was not all that unusual to seek to establish "back channel" ties with a foreign government.

Yesterday, he sought to downplay recent news reports portraying his administration in disarray, calling it "fake news" on Twitter.

"We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & military".


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