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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly came to the defense of Jared Kushner, saying it would be “normal" and "acceptable” to seek backchannel communications with Russia, but that if those communications used Russian equipment, that would be considered "somewhat compromised.”Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser of President Trump, talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, prior to Trump's taking office, about establishing a backchannel for communications about Syria and other policy matters, sources told ABC News.Kelly told This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that with countries such as Russia that are not allies of the U.S., any means of communication is a "good thing.”All communications gathered through a backchannel would be “shared across the government, so it’s not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines" with any country, Kelly said.Raddatz pressed Kelly about whether it would be OK for these backchannel communications to be conducted using Russian diplomatic facilities, as, according to the Washington Post, Kushner sought.Kelly continued to insist that any line of communication “to a country like Russia is a good thing," but he said "using their equipment, you know, that ... would be considered to be, you know, kind of somewhat compromised."“You consider it in terms of its reliability,” Kelly said. “You just have to assume, like in this case, that it’s constructed in a way that they’re trying to get you to do certain things.”Raddatz also asked Kelly about U.S. agencies’ apparent leaks to the press of crime-scene photos and other information about the British investigation of the Manchester attack. Trump on Thursday ordered an investigation of the leaks, saying they "pose a grave threat to our national security."Kelly said the leaks were “outrageous.”He said when he called his counterpart in the U.K. to offer condolences over the attack, she "rightfully then said, ‘Thanks for that. Now, the leak.' "When Raddatz compared these leaks to Trump's reportedly sharing Israeli intelligence with the Russians in an Oval Office meeting earlier this month, Kelly resisted making any comparison.“It’s my understanding that the White House has pushed back and said [Trump] didn’t do that, so I’ll take him at his word,” Kelly said.
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  • Sean Gallup/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Less than 12 hours after returning home from his foreign trip, President Trump was back to tweeting Sunday morning with a renewed attack on the news media.“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” the president said in a series of tweets Sunday morning.“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names … it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy.”
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  • Bettman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In 1987, then-businessman Donald Trump told ABC News he had “zero political aspiration.”
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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat called for a review of Jared Kushner's security clearance over questions of whether he was truthful about his contacts with Russia.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) spoke to ABC News' Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview on "This Week" Sunday in the wake of revelations that Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, talked to the Russian ambassador about establishing a backchannel for communications in December, before Trump took office.“If these allegations are true and he had discussions with the Russians about establishing a backchannel and didn't reveal that, that's a real problem in terms of whether he should maintain that kind of a security clearance,” Schiff said."There ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid" about his Russia contacts, Schiff added in an apparent reference to what Kushner may have submitted in the security clearance application process. "If not, then there's no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance."Kushner, who met with the Russian ambassador in December along with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, asked for backchannel communications to discuss Syria and other policy matters, sources told ABC News.The Democratic National Committee is calling for Kushner's security clearance to be suspended until the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates is completed."The FBI's Russia investigation reached Trump's backyard, and now it's in his house," the DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson said in a statement Thursday. "Kushner's security clearance should be suspended until the FBI's findings are complete."U.S. intelligence operatives reportedly learned about Kushner's interest in backchannel talks through communications that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had with Moscow. Raddatz said Kislyak must know "he’s being monitored all the time" and asked Schiff if it was possible the Russians wanted U.S. intelligence to hear what the Russian ambassador said about Kushner."Could it be a ruse" by Russia to get Americans to suspect Kushner? Raddatz asked.Schiff responded, "Certainly in dealings with the Russians, they're very sophisticated. You always have to take into consideration that the Russians may be doing things that are designed to throw you off the track or provoke discord."He added that it's "hard to understand" why this would be a ruse.  "Why would they want to undermine the very government that they hope to have a good relationship with?"Schiff said he expects Kushner to be asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner talked with the Russian ambassador in December about establishing a backchannel for communications, ABC News has learned from two sources.
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  • Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Family members of President Trump, including his two sons, met for hours Thursday with Republican Party officials to discuss political strategy, ABC News has learned from sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.The president's sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric, in addition to Eric's wife, Lara, attended the meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., sources told ABC News.The meeting was first reported by the Washington Post, who said the Trump family members were invited by the RNC and that their appearance there bothered at least two prominent Republicans over questions of whether the president's sons should be involved in high-level party discussions considering they run the Trump real estate businessThe Post reported that some other people familiar with the meeting thought it was fine for Trump family members who helped with the president's election campaign to offer their views ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential race.
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