McCain: Kushner story 'more and more bizarre'

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Meanwhile, White House counsel Donald McGahn is considering expanding his office, and an outside legal team led by Marc Kasowitz is preparing to meet with Trump and guide him, including on whether he should continue to comment on the Russian Federation investigations on Twitter.

Trump officials were preparing to establish a "war room" to address an issue that has begun to dominate his young presidency. While he has called his first trip overseas a "home run", it was shadowed by reports about Moscow's interference and possible improper dealings with the Trump campaign and associates. "I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community", Clapper said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press".

Schiff's comment came after The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner, also the president's son-in-law, attempted to set up back-channel communications with the Russian government during the presidential transition.

But to the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, it's "obviously very concerning" that a key Trump campaign figure was possibly seeking secret communications with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in the 2016 election.

After maintaining a limited social media presence throughout his trip, Trump on Sunday unleashed a furious flurry of tweets, lashing out at what he called the "fake news" media. "#FakeNews is the enemy!", Mr. Trump said in a series of tweets.

White House officials also are trying to find ways to revive Trump's stalled policy agenda in Congress and to more broadly overhaul the way the White House communicates with the public. Kushner had met with Kislyak and with top campaign adviser Michael Flynn a few days earlier and had asked Kislyak about the possibility of setting up a back channel of communications with the Kremlin during the transition, CBS News confirmed.

"It's both normal, in my opinion, and acceptable", he said on ABC's "This Week" programme.

"Does anyone notice how the Montana Congressional race was such a big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won?"

All communications gathered through a back channel would be "shared across the government, so it's not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines" with any country, Kelly said.

"If you're going to create a back channel that relies exclusively on the Russian communications and apparatus, that's a really serious issue", added Mark Lowenthal, a former Central Intelligence Agency assistant director.

However, the eve of his return brought the biggest story to date: A Washington Post report about Kushner's alleged proposal to the Russians to create a secret channel out of the reach of United States spymasters.

"They need to quarantine this stuff and put the investigations in a separate communications operation", said Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel for President Bill Clinton.

Reuters has reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak past year, including two phone calls between April and November.

Tennessee Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker told USA Today on Sunday night that he felt no urgency in posing those questions and Kushner would speak "when the time is right". "Hard work but big results", he said as he slammed the USA media for using leaks against him.