The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161595   Message #3842776
Posted By: Jim Carroll
04-Mar-17 - 05:47 AM
Thread Name: BS: Press Banned from WH who's next?
Subject: RE: BS: Press Banned from WH who's next?
The plit thockens.
This is safely buried away on page 38 of this morning's Times (U.K.)
Jim Carroll

United States
Rhys Blakely Washington

The White House revealed further contacts between senior advisers and the Russian ambassador yesterday, hours after President Trump complained of a witch-hunt against his administration.
Officials confirmed that Jared Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law and one of his closest confidants, met Sergey Kislyak in a previously undisclosed 20-minute meeting in Trump Tower in New York last December.
Mike Flynn, the retired general who resigned last month as national security adviser after he misrepresented his conversations with Mr Kislyak, was also present.
Contacts between Russian offi¬cials and Trump campaign staff are the subject of investigations by the FBI and two congressional intelli¬gence committees. They are exam¬ining alleged Kremlin meddling in last November's presidential elect¬ion.
It emerged that Mr Kislyak also met two other Trump campaign advisers during the Republican national convention in July: Carter Page, a former banker who has advised on Russian energy deals and who lived in Moscow for several years, and J D Gordon, who was a national security adviser to Mr Trump.
It is not unusual for foreign diplomats to have contact with presidential campaigns, and the Department of State funded an initiative to bring foreign ambassadors to the Republican and Democrat political conventions last summer.
The White House, however, has repeatedly downplayed the Trump campaign's contacts with Russian officials. The issue threatened to overshadow a speech Mr Trump made to Congress on Tuesday, where he laid out an ambitious programme of spend¬ing increases and cuts that will face re¬sistance from fiscal conservatives.
Jeff Sessions, the attorney-general, said on Thursday that he would step away from any investigation- into Kremlin meddling in the election after it emerged that he had spoken to Mr Kislyak twice, in July and September. Mr Sessions was criticised by Democrats for telling a Senate
confirmation hearing in January that he did not "have communications with the Russians" while acting as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.
Mr Sessions said that he would give a formal clarification to his Senate testi¬mony. He added that his conversation with the Russian ambassador had covered terrorism and Ukraine. He said he did not accept an invitation to lunch from the ambassador.
In a series of tweets yesterday Mr Trump said that his attorney-general had been the victim of witch-hunt. "Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional... The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total 'witch-hunt!'"
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said: "All this is very much reminiscent of a witch-hunt and the McCarthyism era that we all thought was long gone." Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for Mr Sessions, said that the attorney-general did not meet Mr Kislyak as a Trump supporter but in his former capacity as a member of the Senate armed services committee.