5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Kushner reportedly tried to set up secret communication channel with Kremlin

  • McMaster 'would not be concerned' by Russia backchannel

  • Senate Intel Committee requests all Russia-related Trump campaign docs

  • Trump delays G7 climate accord decision

  • Ranting man fatally stabs 2 in Portland

President Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner reportedly held discussions with Russia's ambassador about setting up a secret communication channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin shortly after the election, intelligence officials confirmed to The Washington Post Friday. Kushner apparently suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities for backchannel talks, alarming Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as that would pose a security risk for Russia, too. Kushner's legal team said he has "no recollection" of the alleged conversation with Kislyak, and he is happy to speak with federal investigators about his role in the Trump campaign.

Source: The Washington Post, Politico

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Saturday said he "would not be concerned" by backchannel communications with Russia, though he declined to specifically comment on allegations that President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner unsuccessfully attempted to arrange a secret communication channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin shortly after the election. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Press Secretary Sean Spicer also refused to discuss Kushner at Saturday's media briefing. "We're not going to comment on Jared," said Cohn. "We're just not going to comment." McMaster did note the U.S. has "backchannel communications with a number of countries," though Kushner was a private citizen and not an authorized representative of Washington at the time when he allegedly spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Source: The Washington Post, CNN

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked President Trump's campaign to hand over all documents, including phone records and emails, with any reference to Russia dating from June of 2015 onward. The request, which The Washington Post reported Friday evening citing two unnamed sources, is part of the committee's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The committee's letter arrived last week, and campaign staffers are reportedly in the process of cooperating, though they have been instructed not to comment publicly. This is the first time the committee's investigation has involved the official campaign organization.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

President Trump emerged from Friday's G7 summit in Sicily with "evolving" views on climate change, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn reported. "He feels much more knowledgeable on the topic today," Cohn said, noting Trump "came here to get smarter." Trump attended the meeting alongside the leaders of Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Britain, and Canada, all of whom are pushing him not to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord. Trump tweeted Saturday morning, "I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!"

Source: The Associated Press, Politico

Two people were killed and a third injured on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, by a man witnesses said was "yelling a gamut of anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs." Unverified reports suggest the suspect may have been targeting two Muslim girls riding the train, one of whom was wearing a hijab. The victims were attempting to protect other passengers when they were stabbed. The suspect has been detained by police, who have deemed his rant to be hate speech. Neither the attacker nor the victims have been publicly identified.

Source: CNN, NBC News
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