Jared Kushner met with Russian ambassador during transition, White House official says

Posted March 03, 2017

Senate democrats last week asked the White House and law enforcement agencies to keep all materials involving contacts that Trump's administration have had with Russian government officials or their associates, AP said. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.

Current White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that this report only confirms that Obama was trying to undermine his successor.

Trump denounced intelligence agencies for their assessment that Russian Federation sought to influence the election on his behalf, prompting concerns about his support for them.

Top House Intel Committee member Adam Schiff expressed frustration Thursday about FBI Director James Comey, saying the FBI was not forthcoming about their investigation of ties between Russian Federation and the Trump administration, and said for the first time there should be a special prosecutor to investigate. The officials, who spoke to the Times anonymously because they were divulging classified information, said they were coming forward in order to bring attention to the need for further Congressional investigation into the matter.

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Those leaks demonstrated that Flynn had more contact with Russian Federation before President Trump's inauguration than he had told even the vice president, including negotiations over sanctions many felt undermined the then still-active Obama administration. Congress doesn't declare "executive privilege" on behalf of the executive branch.

The involvement of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr and California Representative Devin Nunes has sparked calls - mostly from Democrats - for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's role in the election and possible ties to Trump. Flynn initially told Vice-President Mike Pence and other Trump advisers that he did not discuss sanctions with the envoy during the transition, though it was later revealed that he did. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the January 20 inauguration.

Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador during the same period also received intense scrutiny.

"I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign", Sessions says, "And the idea that I was part of a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government is totally false". When he responded to questions about his communication with Russia during his confirmation as attorney general, Sessions said he "did not respond by referring to the two meetings, one very brief after a speech and one with my professional staffers with the Russian ambassador in Washington".