Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, is under pressure after US media reports claimed he tried to establish a secret channel of communications between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.
Kushner discussed using Russian diplomatic properties to prevent US intelligence services from monitoring communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to the Washington Post.
The meeting took place at Trump Tower in New York before November’s Presidential Election with former national security adviser Michael Flynn also in attendance. Flynn resigned after misleading the White House about his Russian contacts.
Separate reports by Reuters said Kushner had three undisclosed contacts with Kislyak, including telephone calls.
The Trump administration has come under sustained pressure over its alleged links to Russia, in an ongoing controversy which has tainted the start of his Presidency.
Trump himself faced severe criticism from senior opposition figures and from within his own Republican party after disclosing details of another nation’s important intelligence source within so-called Islamic State to Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister.
The controversy has spilled beyond the political circles of Washington, with US stock markets selling off strongly when Trump’s Russia revelations were first reported. Last week the S&P 500, the main barometer of the performance of major American companies, fell to its lowest point in almost a month.
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However, since then markets have shrugged off further woes, returning to new record highs.
The US dollar has also suffered over the last month as the Russia allegations have mounted. It has remained around the levels seen when Trump was elected, undoing a surge against major currencies prompted by promises of a fiscal expansion and the increased likelihood of higher interest rates from the US Federal Reserve.