DHS chief says reported Russian back-channel not a 'big deal'

Trump Says the Trade Deficit With Germany Is ‘Very Bad’ – but Is It Really?                 

     

     REUTERS  Jonathan Ernst

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, considered setting up a secret line of communications between the incoming administration and the Russian government, primarily to discuss a resolution to the crisis in Syria, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mike Dubke, the Hamburg native who signed on to be President Trump's communications director only three months ago, has resigned in what could just be part one of a White House staff shakeup.

Other potential staff changes could be in the works, according to Axios News, which first reported Dubke's departure, including fewer on-camera news briefings by Spicer, the White House press secretary.

Congressional Democrats are demanding to hear directly from Kushner over allegations of the proposed secret back-channel. He added: "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".

Moscow has denied USA intelligence agencies' conclusion that it meddled in the campaign to try to tilt the election in Trump's favour.

The administration had hoped Trump's nine-day turn in the global spotlight would offer a respite from relentless coverage - marked by an endless barrage of explosive revelations - of an ever-widening probe into Russian meddling in last year's election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

Trump tweeted Tuesday: "Russian officials must be laughing at the USA & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News". May-Kelly said her parents and mother were. "#FakeNews is the enemy!" the United States leader wrote, spelling errors and all.

He also told "Fox News Sunday" there was nothing wrong with the Trump transition team trying to build relationships with the Russians as they prepared to take over the White House. "We're just not going to comment". So it doesn't predispose you toward any sort of content of that conversation or anything.

"You've got the ambassador to Russian Federation reporting back to Moscow on an open channel", Graham said.

"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. "This White House is filled with some of the finest and hardest working men and women in the American government". The Democratic National Committee issued a statement declaring: "Trump has no choice but to immediately fire Kushner, whose failure to report this episode on his security clearance is reason enough for a criminal investigation".

"Mr Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period", Gorelick said in an email.

Recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, is starting off an investigation with a broad mandate that will allow him to probe both the possible Russian influence and whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation by firing FBI Director James Comey. "We're chasing our tails as a nation when it comes to the Russians", Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN. "I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it. ..."

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