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Trump considers major staff shake-up to rein in Russia disclosures

31 May 2017

Multiple news outlets, citing sources, reported last week Kushner discussed with a Russian ambassador about setting up a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.

"It's both normal, in my opinion, and acceptable", Kelly said.

The Washington Post has leveled explosive allegations that Kushner proposed a secret communications link to the Kremlin. But Trump immediately railed against administration leaks in a flurry of tweets Sunday, calling them "fabricated lies".

Also at that meeting was retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, who'd serve ever-so briefly as Trump's first national security adviser before having to step aside because of questions over his contacts with Kislyak.

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Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC's "This Week" that Kushner should appear before the panel and that his security clearance needs to be reviewed. "Hopefully, when we get back from recess the Senate will enact sanctions on Russian Federation". The person and others discussing private conversations spoke on condition of anonymity. But he said that as long as the information was shared with the USA government, it didn't represent a problem. At the time, a White House official dismissed it as a brief courtesy meeting.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, described the allegations involving Kushner as serious and called for a thorough investigation.

"He needs to answer for what was happening at the time", Booker said. "They reached out to us yesterday to make sure that we knew that was the case and I'm sure he's willing to do so", Corker said on NBC's "Meet the Press". So one is this administration not talking about our values, cozying up to authoritarian leaders.

When Kushner suggested to Kislyak that they might establish a secret line to contact Moscow, he was meeting with the Russian diplomat in Trump Tower.

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"In general terms, back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy", Spicer told reporters. And after getting settled back in Washington, Trump was quick to praise a bit of good, though not surprising, news he received while overseas: a Republican victory in a special election to fill a vacant House seat in Montana.

"It is my opinion that numerous leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media", Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts on Sunday.

Trump marked his return to the USA this weekend with a flurry of Twitter posts about a Republican health care overhaul, a double-murder in OR, the North Korean missile test and several messages lashing out at the "fake news" media after not holding a press conference once during his overseas trip.

Schiff was particularly concerned about a Washington Post report that the back channel would have been conducted at a Russian diplomatic facility to avoid monitoring in USA communications systems. The newspaper cited anonymous USA officials who were briefed on intelligence reports on intercepted Russian communications. It was not advice that Mr. Trump took. Similarly naïve, and obnoxious to the American tradition of resisting royalty, is President Trump's reliance in major matters of policy on his son-in-law and daughter, two young people who have little if any experience in many of their swelling areas of responsibility.

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