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

A rally planned Thursday in Iowa was postponed due to "an unforeseen change" in Trump's schedule.

The news website Politico called Kushner the White House's " lead distraction" following what is being seen as Trump's mostly successful first foreign trip, which featured a stopover in Israel.

The sense of a White House under intensified siege was heightened by the sobering comments from Merkel, Europe's most powerful politician. Raddatz said Kislyak must know "he's being monitored all the time" and asked Schiff if it was possible the Russians wanted USA intelligence to hear what the Russian ambassador said about Kushner. "Gave me full details!"

Trump's tweets Sunday did not explain which leaks he was referring to, but said that in his opinion, they are made up by reporters.

"Whenever you see the words "sources say" in the fake news media, and they don't mention names..."

When asked if he believes that it was poor judgement to consider such an arrangement given that American intelligence had indicated at the time that Russian Federation may have infiltrated and sought to influence our elections, Kelly noted its timing and said, "Well you know, it was before the government was in place during the transition period, I think.

And, of course, if these reports are accurate, right after that campaign, after that intervention to have the president's son-in-law, a key player within the Trump organization, try to establish a backchannel with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility - you have to ask, 'Well, who are they hiding the conversations from?'"

Mr Kushner's entanglement in the Russian scandal would take the investigation into the inner sanctum of the White House.

'I'm not so sure the email that Comey relied upon was fake, but I can tell you this, he never briefed the Congress, the Judiciary Committee, about any fake email, ' Graham said.

Trump believed he was facing more of a communications problem than a legal one, despite the intensifying inquiries, one person familiar with his thinking told the AP.

This could mean the return of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and David N. Bossie, former deputy campaign manager.

Mr Lewandowski's return would be a particularly notable development, given the fact that he was sacked by Mr Trump after clashing with staff and Mr Trump's adult children.

Seemingly unable to control the leaks within his own White House, Mr. Trump has become increasingly frustrated. The FBI director then promised, in public testimony, to bring to lawmakers' attention any new developments in the case - and less than two weeks before the November 8 election, Comey sent a controversial letter to Congress notifying lawmakers that FBI investigators were reviewing newly discovered emails to determine whether there was any breach of classified information.

However, a former head of the US National Security Agency harshly condemned Mr Kushner's alleged effort to set up a secret communications line.

Trump s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster refused to talk about the allegations, but said that generally speaking, "we have back-channel communication with a number of countries". Officials said he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation in a phone call.

Reuters has reported that Mr Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Mr Kislyak past year, including two phone calls between April and November.

Back-channel communications might be harmless "in the abstract", Rep.

As a possible shakeup looms, Trump has other issues to deal with on the home front.

Trump plans to make an announcement within the week on his climate position, the official said. And the search continues for an Federal Bureau of Investigation director to replace Comey. The Republican health care bill that narrowly passed the House faces an uncertain future in the Senate after a Congressional Budget Office analysis said it would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured by 2026.

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