Trump lashes out at leaks, considers staff upheaval

Kushner discussed the idea with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in December, as the Trump team was preparing its transition to the White House after its unexpected election victory a month earlier.

In a statement last night, carried by the New York Times, Mr Trump praised Mr Kushner and the work he has done in the White House.

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 hasn't addressed the reports about Kushner.

Jared Kushner (left) is a senior adviser to his father-in-law, US President Donald Trump.

However, the eve of his return brought the biggest story to date: A Washington Post report about Kushner's alleged proposal to the Russians to create a secret channel out of the reach of United States spymasters.

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". There's no indication Kushner, 36, has been designated a target of the probe.

Mr Trump - who is said to have met with attorneys at the White House on Sunday - did not falter in his support for Mr Kushner, who has taken a role as a senior White House aide.

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Reports in the US say investigators believe he has relevant information, but is not necessarily suspected of a crime.

It's been just a few days since news surfaced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the role Kushner held during the campaign and transition, including his contacts with Russian officials, his role in the campaign's data analytics operation, and his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The New York Times and Washington Post said he wanted to use Russian facilities to avoid us interception of discussions with Moscow. Kushner is under scrutiny - not necessarily the subject of any investigation or suspected of any wrongdoing - in the FBI's probe. There are, moreover, many precedents for back channel, secret talks with foreign countries by incoming administrations and even presidential campaigns prior to Election Day.

The White House faces mounting questions about potential ties between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign, which are also the subject of criminal and congressional investigations.

US Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said such secret channels may be used in situations including peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan or for the release of American hostages.

James Comey - who was sacked from his post as FBI director by Trump this month - told a congressional committee in March that the Federal Bureau of Investigation also was investigating "whether there was any coordination" with Trump's campaign.

"Jared is doing a great job for the country", he said."I have total confidence in him. I know of no other experience like this in our history, certainly within my life experience".

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