Author: Kathryn

Trump and Kelly discuss text messaging with Trump amid Russia probe

Trump and Kelly discuss text messaging with Trump amid Russia probe

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(AP) — President Donald Trump and his longtime friend and political adviser, White House chief of staff John Kelly, have discussed text messaging with Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott amid the Russia investigation. But that conversation is likely to be kept under wraps in the new White House, which has signaled that the president is unlikely to be briefed regularly on the Trump-Russia probe.

Scott is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he chairs with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc.

“I have nothing further to add,” Scott said in an email to The Associated Press.

Kelly told Senate aides that he was not aware of any “special or highly sensitive conversations” during the two days he has been in office that may have involved text messages with Trump, who has been in transition mode since mid-August.

“I have not seen any messages about any of these issues from any of the president’s top aides, including Stephen Miller and Kelly, as of today,” said Miller, Trump’s top strategist and a close ally of the president.

The Associated Press found no evidence that Scott knew of Kelly’s text messages with Trump or that Kelly discussed Kelly’s conversation with Trump with Scott, but the conversations have raised questions about Kelly’s role in the White House. Kelly, who had been named homeland security secretary before being pushed out of that post in September, had been chief of staff from February to August, leaving White House policy in the hands of Stephen Bannon, the White House chief strategist. (Bannon, himself a former chief of staff at the conservative group the American Liberty Council, denies any such conversations took place.)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has been asked to brief reporters on a daily basis, declined to explain Kelly’s text messages with Trump.

“I am not going to be able to comment on what the president is or has not said,” Sanders said in a statement to reporters.

Sanders’ press secretary, Brian J. Karem, also denied that Kelly had been involved in “any way” with Trump’s discussions with aides, adding that the White House press office had not been granted access to the texts with Kelly. Sanders

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