Top Trump advisers reveal meeting with Russian ambassador

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  March 3, 2017 at 8:50 AM
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March 3 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump's senior aide and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attended a meeting between ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, White House officials said.

Of Kushner and Flynn's meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower in December, the White House press office told The New Yorker that a "brief meeting took place during the transition period." Trump's administration has been scrutinized over its communications with Russian officials.

"The two spoke about potentially establishing a more open line of communication in the future. The meeting was similar to dozens of others that took place over the course of the campaign with representatives of other foreign countries," the White House said. "They have not reconnected since the initial meeting, which was after the election and prior to inauguration."

The senior administration official told CNN it was an "introductory meeting" -- "kind of an inconsequential hello" -- that lasted about 10 minutes. Flynn was forced to resign for misleading the Trump administration over his separate communications with Kislyak.

During his press conference on Feb. 16, Trump said "nobody that I know of" in his campaign had been in contact with Russian officials.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any federal investigation into allegations the Russian government interfered in November's presidential election following reports he met with Kislyak twice in 2016.

U.S. intelligence agencies accuse Kislyak of being a spy or a recruiter -- allegations Moscow has denied.

Three other Trump campaign national security advisers -- J.D. Gordon, Carter Page and Walid Phares -- also spoke with Kislyak, Gordon said.

During the meeting, Gordon told Kislyak he would like to improve relations with Russia, he said, adding that no inappropriate discussion about Russia helping Trump's campaign occurred, USA Today reported.

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