TEHRAN, May 29, YJC -US President Donald Trump says he has 'total confidence' in his embattled senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, following reports Kushner tried to set up a secret channel of communications with Russia before Trump took office.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
Trump on Sunday attacked the news media and dismissed leaks from the White House as "fake news" and "fabricated” amid reports about alleged communications between Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington.
"It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media," Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts.
In a statement later on Sunday night, carried by the New York Times, Trump praised Kushner and the work he has done in the White House.
"Jared is doing a great job for the country,” he said. "I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”
The White House is preparing to establish a "war room" to combat mounting questions about ties between Russia and his presidential campaign, a scandal that has threatened to consume his young presidency.
Reports about alleged contacts between Trump’s aides and Russian officials during last year’s presidential campaign coincided with accusations by US intelligence agencies that Moscow sought to boost Trump's chances of defeating his presidential rival Hillary Clinton through computer hacking and propaganda.
Trump returned to Washington after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe that ended on Saturday to face more questions about alleged communications between Kushner and Russia's ambassador to the US.
According to news reports published while Trump was away on his trip, Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed discussions with the Russian ambassador about opening a secret back channel of communications to avoid monitoring by US communications systems.
The 36-year-old Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, is a real estate developer with no previous government experience.
In recent weeks, the president's relationship with his son-in-law, the most stable partnership in an often unstable White House, is showing obvious signs of strain.
People familiar with the interactions told The New York Times the relationship began to fray after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, which Kushner had strongly advocated, and because of his repeated attempts to oust Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, as well as the president’s press secretary Sean Spicer.
Adam Schiff, the top Democratic lawmaker in the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, told ABC News on Sunday he expected Kushner, who serves as an unpaid adviser to Trump, to appear before his congressional committee and suggested his security clearance be reviewed.