Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly doesn't have a problem with reports of a previously-proposed 'backchannel' of communications between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin, saying, "I don't see a big deal."
"I think any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russia is a good thing," Kelly began on Fox News Sunday.
"I mean, multiple ways to communicate back and forth is a good thing with any country I think, and particularly a country that's like Russia, so it doesn't bother me. You just have to assume, obviously, that what you are getting is — may or may not be true, they may be working you, but that's the whole point. That communication then goes into the White House as a data point in terms of discussion. I don't see a big deal."
Late Friday, the Washington Post broke the story that President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had proposed the backchannel communications with the Kremlin while the Trump team was still managing their transition to power in December.
The report was another in a string of stories show increasing connections between members of the Trump team and Russia, but still haven't shown any collusion between the Kremlin and Trump's campaign to tip the election to Trump.
The backchannel report also came after a Thursday report that the Russian investigation was increasingly looking at Kushner, with a focus on a series of meetings he conducted.
For Kelly, part of the reason Kushner's backchannel proposal was acceptable is the fact Trump was still only President-elect.
"Obviously during the transition period, ... the incoming Trump administration's not in a position to do anything to inhibit what the Obama administration (was doing) literally days before they transitioned out," Kelly added. "So again, as they begin to build relationships, there's nothing wrong with that. As they begin to build their own situational awareness with Russia in this case, I don't see an issue here."
Officials from the Obama administration haven't been so forgiving of Kushner's December proposal to the Kremlin.
Former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden said Kushner's proposal was, "off the map."
"I mean what manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or an appropriate idea?" Hayden said on CNN.