March 20, 2019

Kelly Calls Maintaining Communication Channels With Russia 'a Good Thing'

29 May 2017, 06:41 | Rhonda Young

"Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing".

"The FBI's Russian Federation investigation reached Trump's backyard, and now it's in his house", the DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson said in a statement Thursday.

The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat called for a review of Jared Kushner's security clearance over questions of whether he was truthful about his contacts with Russian Federation.

Trump, meanwhile, resumed his Twitter postings from the White House on Sunday and dismissed any story based on anonymous sources.

"Whenever you see the words "sources say" in the fake news media, and they don't mention names ... it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers".

"Just because you have a back channel, if indeed that's what Jared was after, doesn't mean that he then keeps everything secret", Kelly said on NBC's "Meet the Press".

President Donald Trump went on the offensive Sunday after returning from his nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe to growing scandals at home over his administration's communications with Russian officials, including an explosive report about Trump son-in-law and confidant Jared Kushner.

Representative Adam Schiff of California said he does see an issue, if Kushner sought those discussions and didn't disclose them. "You always have to take into consideration that the Russians may be doing things that are created to throw you off the track or provoke discord".

The Post wrote that Kislyak was reportedly taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

Greg Miller, one of the reporters who broke the story for the Washington Post, spoke with the NewsHour Weekend's Hari Sreenivasan.

Advisers to President Donald Trump have been put on the defensive by reports that adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner had proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team.

Clapper noted that it's not up to him to decide what kind of action should be taken as a response to Russia's attempts to interfere with the USA election, but he said, "certainly sanctions are a compelling, powerful weapon-Russians don't like them". He was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January about his contacts with Kislyak. Kushner, 36, is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka and serves as a senior adviser to the president.

Trump called his maiden trip overseas a "home run", but while the White House had hoped it would serve as a reset, attention on the Russian Federation probe has only increased.

Reuters has reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak a year ago, including two phone calls between April and November. Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, told Reuters that Kushner "has no recollection of the calls as described".

The United States has repeatedly accused Russian Federation of meddling in the USA presidential campaign, including alleged hacking attempts.

Expanding teams of lawyers and experienced public relations hands are being recruited to deal with the drumbeat of new revelations about Moscow's interference and possible improper dealings with the Trump campaign and associates.

This report was written by Hope Yen and Vivian Salma of the Associated Press.

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