Kushner ‘proposed secret communication channel with Russia’

Jared Kushner

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke with Russias ambassador about establishing a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and Moscow, said US officials briefed on intelligence reports.

The claim comes from intercepts of conversations between Russia’s Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak and Moscow.

Kislyak told higher-ups in Moscow that Kushner suggested the proposal in a meeting at Trump Tower — which former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn also attended — in December, the Washington Post reported, citing US officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the US for the communications and the proposal took Kislyak by surprise, the report said on Friday.

The idea was to have Flynn speak directly with a senior military official in Moscow to discuss Syria and other security issues, the New York Times reported, citing officials.

But neither side followed up on it. And less than two weeks later, the idea was dropped, said the report.

In the days after the meeting with Kislyak, Kushner had a separate meeting with Sergey N. Gorkov, a Russian banker with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

Though the proposal was designed primarily as a conduit to discuss policy issues, it was unclear why such communications would have needed to be carried out though a secret channel.

The White House declined to comment.

The revelation has stoked new questions about Kushner’s connections to Russian officials at a time when the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation into Moscow’s attempts to disrupt last year’s presidential election.

Current and former American officials said Kushner’s activities, like those of many others around Trump, are under scrutiny as part of the investigation.

But Kushner is not the subject of a criminal investigation.