Donald Trump’s top economic and national security advisers have declined to comment on allegations that the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is facing regarding his contacts with Russian officials, the media reported.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser, on Saturday declined to say whether he would be concerned if a private citizen attempted to set up backchannel communications with a foreign government to influence US foreign policy and said he would not be concerned if a White House official attempted to do so, reports CNN.
“We have backchannel communications with a number of countries,” McMaster said.
McMaster and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, dodged questions after reports surfaced that Kushner, also a senior adviser to Trump, considered setting up a secret communications channel between the President’s transition team and Moscow with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to discuss military options in Syria and other matters.
“That’s something I’m not prepared to talk about,” McMaster said when he was first asked about the allegations.
Cohn said: “We’re not going to comment on Jared. We’re just not going to comment.”
A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CNN that Kushner first discussed creating the backchannel in a meeting last December with Kislyak.
According to McMaster and Cohn, Kushner was a private citizen at the time, not a US government official.
Pressed repeatedly on the matter during a news conference on Saturday that was kept off camera at the White House’s insistence, McMaster also said he was not “involved with or have any knowledge of” any attempt on Kushner’s part to set up backchannel communications with Moscow.