The 'Kremlin connection' and how the White House explains it

Mr Sergey Kislyak
Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.PHOTO: AFP

PERSON OF INTEREST

Mr Jared Kushner is now a focus of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe into Russian meddling. Of interest to the FBI is likely Mr Kushner's several meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Caveat: The FBI has accused Mr Kushner of no wrongdoing, and he is not its main focus.

'CLANDESTINE' MEETINGS

Mr Kushner did not share those meetings with the Russians on his security clearance form. A security clearance is required for anyone who is privy to the nation's secrets. Caveat: His lawyer said it was a mistake, and Mr Kushner corrected it after a New York Times report.

SMEAR CAMPAIGN ON CLINTON?

CNN reported last Friday that the FBI is also interested in how Russia helped use computer bots to target and push negative information on Mrs Hillary Clinton (and positive things about Mr Donald Trump) on Facebook. Mr Trump campaign's data analytics operation was supervised by Mr Kushner. Caveat: Mr Kushner ran a media company, so it conceivably makes sense he would take over social media for the campaign. '

COVERT COMMS CHANNEL

Apparently, Mr Kushner proposed setting up a secret communications channel between Mr Trump's transition team and Moscow using Russian facilities, according to the Russian ambassador's report home.

United States officials told The Post this was an apparent move by Mr Kushner to block any US monitoring of Mr Trump's activities ahead of Mr Trump's inauguration. Caveat: Russians at times feed false information into communication streams that they think the US is watching. But it is unclear why the Russian ambassador would misreport his conversations to his own people, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Mr Trump. It is conceivable, though, that Mr Kislyak was exaggerating or misunderstood what was said.

WASHINGTON POST

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 28, 2017, with the headline 'The 'Kremlin connection' and how the White House explains it'. Print Edition | Subscribe