WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser, proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., according to a source for The Associated Press.
Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming administration’s options with Russia as it was developing its Syria policy, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press.
The intent was to connect Trump’s chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, said this person, who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Russia, a pivotal player in Syria, has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, often at the expense of civilians during a long civil war.
The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner’s attendance until March. At the time, a White House official dismissed it as a brief courtesy meeting.
Back from a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, Trump on Sunday immediately sought to dismiss recent news reports as “fake news.