Trump Son-in-Law Jared Kushner Denies Collusion with Russia
Kushner insisted none of the contacts were improper & denied Russian finance in any of his private sector businesses
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner is denying that President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia, saying in a statement ahead of congressional interviews that he has "nothing to hide."
The 11-page statement provided to The Associated Press by a representative on Monday details four contacts with Russians during Trump's campaign and transition. Kushner plans to deliver the statement during closed-door meetings with investigators on Senate and House committees this week.
In a statement, Kushner said:
I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.
He also insists none of the contacts was improper. He also denies that Russians finance any of his business in the private sector.
In speaking to Congress, Kushner — as both the President's son-in-law and a trusted senior adviser during the campaign and inside the White House — becomes the first member of the President's inner circle to face questions from government officials, as they probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign.
He is to meet with the staff on the Senate intelligence committee on Monday and lawmakers on the House intelligence committee on Tuesday.
Kushner’s appearance has been highly anticipated, in part because of a series of headlines in recent months about his interactions with Russians and because the reticent Kushner had until Monday not personally responded to questions about an incomplete security clearance form and his conversations with foreigners.
In it, he detailed a June 2016 meeting with a Russian-American lawyer and says it was such a "waste of time" that he asked his assistant to call him out of the gathering.
“Didn’t See Emails Till Recently”
Emails released this month show that the President's son, Donald Trump Jr, accepted the meeting at Trump Tower with the idea that he would receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton. But Kushner says he hadn't seen those emails until they were recently shown to him by his lawyers.
Kushner said in his statement that Trump Jr invited him to the meeting. He says he arrived late and when he heard the lawyer discussing the issue of adoptions, he texted his assistant to call him out.
No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there (or their names), and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted.
Kushner also denies reports he discussed setting up a secret back-channel with the Russian ambassador to the US.
He said he did speak with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December at Trump Tower. But he says that conversation was about policy in Syria.
“Never Proposed Secret Communication with Russia”
Kushner says that when Kislyak asked if there was a secure line for him to provide information on Syria from what Kislyak called his "generals," Kushner asked if there was an existing communications channel at the embassy that could be used. Kushner says he never proposed an ongoing secret form of communication.
Kushner also explained that his application form for a security clearance form was submitted prematurely due to a miscommunication with his assistant, who had erroneously believed the document was complete.
He said he mistakenly omitted all of his foreign contacts, not just his meetings with Russians, and has worked in the last six months with the FBI to correct the record.
Trump Jr and Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was also at the June 2016 meeting, were scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
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