Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Sunday called senior adviser Jared Kushner's effort to set up private communications with the Russians during President Donald Trump's transition "a good thing."
In an interview with ABC News' "This Week," Kelly said "back channeling" is "both normal in my opinion and acceptable."
"Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing," he said, adding, "it's not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines to any government."
Pressed on Kushner's non-government position at the time of the effort, Kelly double down.
"The point is, during the transition process, to open channels of communication with any country, back channel, up front is a good thing. I would just say any line of communication… is a good thing."
Kelly also called leaks to the U.S. media of the Manchester, England, terrorist bomber's identity and device used in the attack were "outrageous."
"I don't know why people do it, particularly when it's classified, particularly when it's ongoing, the event was still really ongoing," he said. "I don't know why they do it. It's just outrageous."
When asked about Trump's reported revelation of classified information to the Russians that came from Israeli intelligence, Kelly said "It's my understanding that the White House has pushed back and said he didn't do that so I'll take him at his word."
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