Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trump/Kushner Wanted Secret Communications Channel with Kremlin

Another day and another breaking headline suggesting that perhaps we are indeed moving closer to two words: treason and impeachment.  Increasingly, one feel's that we are living a real life version of David Baldacci's Absolute Power or some other spy thriller with a rogue president of the United States.  Late yesterday the Washington Post broke a new story that revealed that monitored communications between Russian ambassador  Sergey Kislyak and Moscow indicated that Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn met with Kislyak and discussed using Russian communications networks to allow Trump officials to communicate with the Kremlin without detection by American intelligence services.  Obviously, it is hard to believe that Trump was not aware of the proposal.  One can only ask what did they want to communicate that could not be seen by American CIA, FBI and other agencies?  It's almost to the point where I am going to start addressing my "friends" who voted for Trump by the term "comrade."  Of course, Fox News will either not report this story or so pervert it that it bears no resemblance to reality.  Here are highlights from the Post story:
Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.
The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.
The White House disclosed the meeting only in March, playing down its significance. But people familiar with the matter say the FBI now considers the encounter, as well as another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be of investigative interest.
Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.
The White House declined to comment. Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, declined to comment. The Russian Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.
Kushner’s apparent interest in establishing a secret channel with Moscow, rather than relying on U.S. government systems, has added to the intrigue surrounding the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia.
To some officials, it also reflects a staggering naivete. The FBI closely monitors the communications of Russian officials in the United States, and it maintains a nearly constant surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. The National Security Agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that although Russian diplomats have secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner’s apparent request for access to such channels was extraordinary.
The discussion of a secret channel adds to a broader pattern of efforts by Trump’s closest advisers to obscure their contacts with Russian counterparts. 
Kushner’s interactions with Russians — including Kislyak and an executive for a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions — were not acknowledged by the White House until they were exposed in media reports.
In addition to their discussion about setting up the communications channel, Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak also talked about arranging a meeting between a representative of Trump and a “Russian contact” in a third country whose name was not identified, according to the anonymous letter.
The Post reported in April that Erik Prince, the founder of the private security firm Blackwater, now called Academi, and an informal adviser to the Trump transition team, met on Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean with a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last evening on satellite radio, former GOP chair Michael Steele said the story, if true was very bad.

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