Investigations into Russian interference in the American presidential election arent only getting close to Donald Trump,theyve begun to stir up concerns about the chain of command.
Reports that top White House adviserJared Kushner attempted to establish a secret communication link with Russiahas an ex-CIA official wondering if he was acting on his or following orders and if so, whose orders.
Im going to presume he did this at the behest of the president-elect of the United States, former CIA official Phillip Mudd said on CNN Monday.
Mudd was referring to last weeks Washington Post report that Kushner met in December with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to discuss establishing a secret communication channel to the Kremlinthat could not be monitored by U.S. intelligence using Russian facilities. The link was not established, The Post reported.
Theres a judgment by Jared Kushner and the presidents team that says, I trust the Russians more than I trust the Americans. Im going to go talk to the Russian embassy because I dont trust American channels, Mudd said on CNNs The Situation Room.
CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza also said he doesnt believe Kushner was lone-wolfing it at the time, but was following orders from his father-in-law or Michael Flynn, who would later be booted as Trumps national security advisor over his ties to Russia.
I find it hard to believe …that he was lone wolfing it on thisthat he developed a plan entirely independent of Donald Trump or Mike Flynn or anybody else, Cillizza said.
Yes,he is a member of the family, he is a trusted adviser. But hes not someone who believes he should just go and run channels, particularly at that point, particularly in the transition period.
Without directly addressing the Post report, Trump defended Kushner in a statement to The New York Times published Sunday, saying he has total confidence in him. Kushner, Trump added, isrespected by virtually everyone and is a very good person.
After he returned from Europe, the president also disparaged White House leaks and fake news from the media in a series of tweets, apparently in response to a number of damaging news stories last week, including the Kushner report.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has called for a review of Kushnerssecurity clearance.
Kushner emerged last week as a person of interest in the FBI probe into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and possible links to the Trump campaign.
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