Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly indicated today that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner and his communications with Russia are part of a wide-ranging probe by the Justice Department’s special counsel. Kelly defended Kushner at a Senate hearing amid reports that he attempted to establish a “back-channel” communication between Russia and Trump’s presidential transition team. Under Democratic questioning, Kelly said “we have to make the assumption and I will that Jared Kushner is a great American.” Kelly said back-channel talks have been common in U.S. diplomacy, but indicated that the matter is under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. Montana Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, said he believes the conduct of the president’s son-in-law is “unacceptable” and raises red flags. Noting that “there’s all sorts of stuff going on here,” Tester asked Kelly “to find out what the hell is going on.”
As Tester persisted, Kelly repeated, “again, I think we have to make the assumption….”
Tester cut him off, asking: “But don’t you think we should ensure that that assumption is correct?” “Well sure,” Kelly said. “And I think there are numerous investigations that are looking into this. I think it’s part of the Bob Mueller investigation, and I think there’s a number of congressional committees looking into it.”
The exact scope of Mueller’s investigation has so far been unclear, but he has broad authority.