White House Won't Confirm Kushner-Russia Reports

Lauren Perry
May 31, 2017

Although President Donald Trump tweeted a "Fox & Friends" story Tuesday morning that relied heavily on a single unnamed source, Spicer chided the press for their reporting based on anonymous sources. The alleged request occurred in December, before Trump took office.

White House communications director Michael Dubke has confirmed he is leaving the White House and says his last day on the job has not been determined. "It has also been my distinct pleasure to work side-by-side, day-by-day with the staff of the communications and press departments".

Dubke, a longtime Republican strategist, joined the Trump White House in mid-February after the administration's sluggish start.

Dubke is the latest White House staffer to leave this administration as scrutiny intensifies over contacts Trump staffers may have had with Russian government officials during the campaign and transition period.

For example, Trump has entertained bringing his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, more formally back into the fold.

Spicer also said the president is meeting Tuesday afternoon with two more candidates to replace James Comey for Federal Bureau of Investigation director: John Pistole, a former TSA administrator who previously served as Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director, and Chris Wray, a former Justice Department official who served during the George W. Bush administration.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Dubke resigned before Trump left for his global trip earlier this month, suggesting that his departure is not linked to any pending shake-ups.

The Washington Post reported last week Kushner asked Russian officials if they wanted to set up a secret communications channel between the two countries.

Mr. Trump raised eyebrows last week at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels when he stood before European leaders and told them that their countries had to start paying their agreed share for military security.

When reporters pointed out that a story tweeted out by Mr. Trump today used anonymous sources to bolster his own Russian Federation response, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was having none of it. The person wasn't authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and insisted on anonymity.

The disclosure of the back channel has put the White House on the defensive.

In this photo taken April 20, 2017, White House Communications Director Mike Dubke arrives in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer calls on a member of the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

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