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"Back channels" have been used by every modern president, from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. If that's so, what's the problem with the pre-inauguration contacts between White House adviser Jared Kushner and two Russian intermediaries?The secret Kushner contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Kremlin-friendly banker Sergey Gorkov raise similar questions to Michael Flynn's contacts with Kislyak. Flynn was fired as national security adviser in February after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and the public about whether, in a Dec. 29 conversation with Kislyak, he discussed easing anti-Russia sanctions after Trump's inauguration.The reason that Flynn's conversations were "problematic," in the words of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, was that they might have undermined the penalties the Obama administration had imposed that very day against Russia for hacking the 2016 presidential election.One difference between the Kushner and Flynn cases is that when press reports surfaced about Kushner's Russia contacts, he doesn't appear to have provided misleading information, as Flynn allegedly did to Pence and the public.I noted that Kushner had agreed to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the meetings.
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