President Trump says he has “total confidence” in son-in-law Jared Kushner after a series of reports revealed that the White House senior adviser tried to set up a secret communications channel with Russia.
“Jared is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him,” Trump said in a statement to The New York Times. “He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”
NBC News reported last week that Kushner has come under scrutiny in the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The president’s son-in-law also reportedly talked with a top Russian official in early December about establishing a private line of communication between Trump’s transition team and Moscow.
Kushner reportedly asked about using Russian diplomatic facilities for the communications to shield the talks from U.S. surveillance during a meeting at Trump Tower in December before Trump took office.
Criticism of Kushner came swiftly, with the Democratic National Committee calling for Kushner to be fired and former CIA Director John McLaughlan saying it would be “considered espionage” if an intelligence officer were to attempt what Kushner did
Trump’s statement to the Times comes after White House officials refused to comment on Kushner during a press briefing on Saturday.