Jared Kushner, whose own ties to Russia are under federal scrutiny, will help coordinate messaging from a new White House “war room” intended to diffuse mounting pressure from the scandal surrounding possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.
Kushner and White House chief adviser Steve Bannon will be involved in the messaging operation, Reuters reported Friday, as well as former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who could join the administration as early as next week.
This is the Trump administration’s most concerted effort to contain the fallout from the Russia scandal, which continues to distract from their own agenda and that of the GOP-controlled Congress.
Yet Kushner himself was the center of several damaging news reports Friday.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser reportedly spoke to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Segei Kislyak, about establishing a secret line of communication with the Kremlin during the transition, and also failed to disclose several conversations with Kislyak.
Part of the strategy for managing disclosures like this is getting Trump back on the road, Reuters reported. The President will hold a campaign-style rally next week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Efforts to maintain message discipline over the Russia story are threatened by Trump’s own off-the-cuff speaking style and habit of airing his grievances on Twitter, in interviews and at public events.
“It’s a seemingly impossible task,” one senior administration official involved with establishing the war room told the Daily Beast. “A disproportionate amount of our time has been spent reacting to ill-advised tweets.”