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Trump returns to White House, faces slew of challenges

29 May 2017, 04:30 | Rhonda Young

Trump returns to White House, faces slew of challenges

Trump returns to White House, faces slew of challenges

Even as a member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet said he doesn't see reports of White House adviser Jared Kushner seeking secret communications with Russian Federation as "any big deal", a top House Democrat said the security clearance for Trump's son-in-law needs to be reviewed.

Kushner was joined by Michael Flynn, the retired general who would resign as Trump's national security adviser after reports that he secretly spoke with Kislyak about sanctions.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said he doesn't find back-channel communications with Russian Federation concerning.

President Donald Trump said Saturday that his maiden trip overseas was a "home run" before heading back to Washington, where his top aides have been trying to contain the fallout from reports that Trump's son-in-law has drawn scrutiny in investigations involving Russian Federation. "Now, despite that, he brought Jared Kushner into the White House because of his loyalty, because his usefulness within the White House".

Russia, a key player in Syria, has backed Syrian president Bashar Assad, often at the expense of civilians during a long civil war.

He added: "And you hear people close to the president quietly saying, is it too much and is it time for Jared to take a step back, maybe even take a leave of absence from the White House".

Kushner's involvement in the proposed back channel was first reported by The Washington Post, which said he suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more hard to monitor.

Kelly defended Kushner from reports that Kushner wanted to set up these "backchannel" communications with Russian Federation during a period when US intelligence agencies declared that Russian Federation had attempted to interfere with the last election.

US intelligence operatives reportedly learned about Kushner's interest in backchannel talks through communications that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had with Moscow.

Meanwhile, Trump also addressed a controversy that arose last week, when British authorities publicly complained that US officials had leaked sensitive information about the bomber who killed more than 20 people at a Manchester concert.

The Democratic National Committee is calling for Kushner's security clearance to be suspended until the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates is completed. He met separately last December - after the election but before Trump assumed office - with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, and Sergey Gorkov, the head of the government-owned Vnesheconombank, which has been subject to United States sanctions because of its role in Russia's occupation of a part of Ukraine.




Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, and Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist, also returned from Trump's trip early, in part to deal with the political furor over the Russian Federation investigations and the president's decision to fire James Comey as FBI director.

Kushner's lawyer has said his client is willing to talk to federal and congressional investigators about the matter.

However, Godbolt himself shed some light on what happened in a video interview with the newspaper as he sat with his hands cuffed behind his back on the side of a road.

"So you know there's a lot of different ways to communicate, - back-channel, publicly - with other countries".

President Trump canceled plans for a campaign-style rally this week in Iowa, but keep an eye on next week: Several sources tell CNN the White House is making plans for a roadshow to highlight the President's infrastructure ideas.

Still, he has told friends that he and his wife, Ivanka Trump, have made no long-term commitment to remain by Trump's side, saying they would review every six months whether to return to private life in NY.

Reuters reported last week that a proposal for a back channel was discussed between McMaster's predecessor Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador as Trump prepared to take office. Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, told Reuters that Kushner "has no recollection of the calls as described".

"But it certainly was appropriate given all the signs...for the FBI to investigate", Clapper said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press".

On Saturday, the AP confirmed that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election, has requested information and documents from Trump's campaign. 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 demanded anonymity.

The Post first reported the request, which covers materials such as emails, phone records and documents dating to Trump's first days as a candidate in July 2015.



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