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FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2017 file photo, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.,that McMaster will be the new national security adviser. McMaster’s “Dereliction of Duty,” first published in 1997, was No. 1 on Amazon.com as of Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. The book’s popularity soared after McMaster was chosen Monday by President Donald Trump to replace Michael Flynn, who departed amid questions about contacts he had with the Russian ambassador. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said he's not concerned about Kushner reports


UPDATE May 27, 2:41 p.m. EST:

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said he isn't troubled by circulating reports that Jared Kushner had suggested to the Russian Ambassador to Washington to set up a secret channel of communication, Reuters reported. McMaster said that so-called "back-channeling" was normal.

The US Army officer declined to address the case specifically, but when asked if it would concern him if an administration official attempted to establish a back channel with the Russian embassy or the Kremlin, he replied, "no."

"We have back-channel communications with any number of individual (countries). So generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet manner," McMaster said.

"So it doesn't pre-expose you to any sort of content or any kind of conversation or anything. So we're not concerned about it," he continued.

ORIGINAL STORY: President Trump's son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, Jared Kushner, discussed the possibility of establishing a secret and secure communications channel with Russian's ambassador to Washington, the Washington Post reported. The line of communication was intended to allow communications between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin by using Russian diplomatic facilities.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that Kushner made the proposal during a meeting on December 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by US officials.

Kislyak said Kushner had suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the US for the communications. 

The meeting was also attended by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The White House disclosed the meeting retroactively--in March--and played down its significance. Sources, however, said that the FBI now considers the encounter, as well as another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be of investigative interest. 

The Russian ambassador was allegedly taken aback by the suggestion of permitting an American to use Russian communications equipment at its embassy or consulate, as it would have carried security risks for Moscow as well.

The news of Kushner's alleged suggestion comes one day after NBC reported that FBI officials believe that Trump's son-in-law had information pertinent to the ongoing Russian investigation.

Circa also previously reported that Kushner said he would voluntarily speak to Congress to any officials if asked. 

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