Kushner asked to 'lay low' after Russia-related reports, source says

WASHINGTON — Back on his home turf after an eight-day foreign trip, President Donald Trump is once again facing down controversy — and now it's hitting close to home.

Trump was greeted on U.S. soil by new reports involving his son-in-law-turned-senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner. NBC News reported Thursday that Kushner has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, with multiple officials telling NBC News that investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry. That doesn't mean, however, that they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him.

A source familiar with the thinking inside the White House told NBC News that a few individuals have even suggested to Kushner that he should "lay low," in the aftermath of those reports and new revelations that he sought to set up a secret back-channel with Russia. Separately, a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told NBC News that at least one staffer was speechless when they learned about reports of a purported Russia back channel.

6 PHOTOS
Trump slams Kushner reports as 'fake news'
See Gallery
Trump slams Kushner reports as 'fake news'
It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.
Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names....
....it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!
Does anyone notice how the Montana Congressional race was such a big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won? V was poorly covered
British Prime Minister May was very angry that the info the U.K. gave to U.S. about Manchester was leaked. Gave me full details!
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Despite that request, there is no indication that the president shares that view and Kushner remains one of his top advisers. "Jared is doing a great job for the country," the president told The New York Times Sunday. "I have total confidence in him. 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."

The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner discussed setting up a secure and secret communication channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The proposal, which hasn't been independently confirmed by NBC News, was made during a meeting in December with Kisylak, also attended by former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, The Post reported.

That Kushner is being cautioned to keep a low profile is notable considering his role leading a new White House "war room" to deal with Russia-related issues. White House aides told NBC News before the weekend that Kushner, presidential counselor Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus would head up the effort, but other officials sounded more skeptical Sunday that Kushner would play a leading and hands-on role.

Despite mounting questions, Kushner remains focused on work and eager to cooperate with the investigation, a source familiar with his thinking told NBC News. And Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, delivered a similar reminder Sunday, telling NBC News' Chuck Todd that it "sounds like he's more than glad to talk about all of these things."

17 PHOTOS
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in Saudi Arabia, Israel
See Gallery
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in Saudi Arabia, Israel
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump listen to U.S. President Donald Trump speak to the media at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Debbie Hill/Pool
Ivanka Trump looks on during her visit to the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Heidi Levine/Pool
Ivanka Trump stands in for her father U.S. President Donald Trump by speaking in his place at a social media conference called Tweeps in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (2nd R), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R), Ivanka Trump (L) and her husband, White House senior advisor, Jared Kushner (2nd L) take their seats before U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his remarks to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump walk on the tarmac after arriving with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) talks to his wife Ivanka Trump during a welcoming ceremony for her father U.S. President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ivanka Trump looks on during her visit to the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump (R) arrive to tour the new Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology with U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (not pictured) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump arrive together with U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania to a farewell ceremony upon their departure on Air Force One at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Ivanka Trump is seen at a ceremony where her father US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (top L) and his wife Ivanka Trump (top C) look on as U.S. President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania Trump participate in a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on May 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
(From L-R) White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, daughter of US president Ivanka Trump, cantor Shay Abramson and Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau attend a wreath laying ceremony during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II, on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. / AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
US president's senior advisor Jared Kushner is seen during a press conference by the US president and Palestinian leader at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 22: (ISRAEL OUT) In this handout photo provided by the Israel Government Press Office (GPO), US President Donald J Trump (L) and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the King David Hotel May 22, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Trump arrived for a 28-hour visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas on his first foreign trip since taking office in January. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images)
(From L to R) White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump listen to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (R) during a visit the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalems Old City on May 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN (Photo credit should read RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Kushner would speak for himself, Corker said he'd been reassured, "when the time is right."

Although the White House largely believed Trump's first foreign trip to be a success, that doesn't mean thoughts about shaking things up in the president's inner circle have subsided. Multiple sources told NBC News that changes are still coming in a White House that has become known for its palace intrigue and publicly aired internal politics.

Questions have long swirled about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's future, with Trump still weighing a higher-profile role for Spicer's deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Officials previewed changes to come in the communications shop, including having more top officials make appearances at briefings.

And former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie are back in the president's orbit, sources confirmed to NBC News, with their prospects of officially joining the administration swirling as Trump seeks out the team that brought him success during the campaign.

That campaign spirit could be back in full view in the coming weeks, as well, with one official telling NBC News that Trump is expected to get back on the road and to the rallies he so loves, using them to bolster his agenda on key issues like tax reform and health care.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.