US: Trump considers major staff shakeup over Russia controversy 0

US President Donald Trump and his advisers are considering a major shakeup of senior White House staff in an attempt to contain the growing political and legal threat from the escalating Russia controversy.

Trump returned home on Saturday from a nine-day foreign trip that provided a respite from the crisis in Washington. As the president met with leaders and diplomats in the Middle East and Europe, senior aides met in the White House to discuss damage control.

The White House now plans to more aggressively combat the revelations about contacts between people involved in the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, including his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, The Washington Post reported.

Kushner has recently become the focus of federal investigations into possible collusion between Moscow and Trump’s campaign and transition teams.

The 36-year-old has reportedly played an active role in the effort to reshape the president’s communications team and develop an internal group to respond to the flurry of negative stories over the Russia inquiry.

Led by New York attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s private legal team is preparing to meet in Washington to discuss new revelations about contacts between Kushner and representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post reported separately that Kushner tried to establish secret and secure communications with the Kremlin during Trump’s transition.

According to The New York Times, the channel was meant to allow then-national security adviser Michael Flynn to communicate with Moscow directly about Syria and other security issues.

This file photo taken on February 13, 2017 shows Michael Flynn (L) and Jared Kushner before a joint press conference.

Trump might personally meet with Kasowitz as early as Sunday, and his aides have recruited a number of prominent lawyers for the president to interview in hopes that they could join the legal team.

White House ‘war room’

Aides are also considering creating a White House “war room” to more aggressively push back against the Russia controversy as well as the fallout of Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI director James Comey earlier this month. Comey has authored a memo that suggested Trump asked him to drop an inquiry about Flynn’s ties to Moscow.

The damage-control plan also includes the return of some of Trump’s more combative campaign advisers, including Corey Lewandowski, who was fired as campaign manager nearly a year ago, and David N. Bossie, a former deputy campaign manager.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, has contacted people from Trump’s campaign team, asking them to be more involved in supporting the president.

The US intelligence community concluded in January that Russia tried to influence the presidential election in favor of Trump, including through an aggressive hacking campaign against senior Democrats.

The Kremlin has categorically denied the allegation. Trump has also rejected the accusation as “baseless” and has called the FBI probe a “witch hunt.”

Culled from Presstv