Kushner wanted 'link' with Russian Federation

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But White House staff have noted, according to a New York Times report, that in his occasional dressings-down of his staff Trump has lately included Kushner, whereas at the beginning of his campaign and his administration Kushner was usually immune.

The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing unnamed USA officials briefed on intercepted Russian conversations, that Kushner had discussed establishing a secret backchannel to the Kremlin, using equipment in Russian facilities in the United States, with Russia's ambassador to the United States in December. Moscow has repeatedly refuted the USA allegations, saying it had no intention to meddle in internal affairs of other states. "There ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid", Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday, the NY Daily News reported.

He says the government needs to "get to the bottom" of the allegations, and if they are true, "there's no way" Kushner should keep his security clearance.

Shortly after Mr Trump's remarks, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly made the rounds of Sunday television news shows to praise any so-called back channel communications, especially with Russian Federation, as "a good thing".

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His son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is under scrutiny in the FBI's probe into Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign.

The Washington Post reported Kushner had interest in creating a backchannel of communications with the Kremlin.

Mr Trump described news reports based on White House leaks as "fabricated lies made up by #FakeNews media".

Both The Wall Street Journal - on Friday - and the Washington daily, on Sunday, reported that Trump is planning a big shakeup in the White House, including possibly dismissing or reducing the role of Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

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"To have the president's son-in-law, a key player within the Trump Organization, trying to establish a backchannel with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility - you have to ask, well, who are they hiding the conversations from?"

Separately, Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation into a property deal involving the company run by Mr Kushner's family which was marketed to Chinese investors. "Look, we have a special prosecutor".

Before the foreign trip, for instance, there had been talk that Spicer would be scaling back his on-camera briefings once Trump returned home-a supposed sign the president was losing confidence in his chief spokesman.

"My dashboard warning light was clearly on", Clapper said. "They are not our friends".

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