White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, emerging from a 2.5 hour closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday afternoon, denied colluding with Russian officials during the campaign. He was not under oath during the private meeting with Senate staff on Monday.
“Let me very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts,” he said in a less than three-minute press conference. “I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses. And I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.”
“Since the first questions were raised in March, I have been consistent in saying that I was eager to share any information I have with the investigating body and I have done so today,” he said. “The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of a very unique campaign.”
“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won,” he continued. “Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.” Kushner did not answer questions from reporters.
Trump’s son-in-law is under questioning for his ties to Russia, including a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer who allegedly handed over documents meant to hurt the Clinton campaign, as two congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigate potential collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials over the US election. US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered with the US election, favoring the Trump campaign.
On Monday morning, ahead of the committee meeting, Kushner released an 11-page memo similarly denying any wrongdoing. Of the June meeting, which came to light after Donald Trump Jr. astonishingly tweeted his email exchange with publicist Rod Goldstone, who organized the meeting, Kushner wrote: “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.”
He also denied having phone conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, reported by Reuters, after they first met briefly in April when Trump delivered a speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. “Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies,” he wrote, about meeting Kislyak and other ambassadors. “I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.”
He confirmed meeting with Kislyak post-election at the Trump Tower in December. Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign over misleading White House officials over his conversations with Russian officials, was also in attendance. Kushner, however, denied reports that he tried to create a secret communications line to discuss strategy in Syria with Russian officials during the election. “I stated our desire for a fresh start in relations. Also, as I had done in other meetings with foreign officials, I asked Ambassador Kislyak if he would identify the best person (whether the ambassador or someone else) with whom to have direct discussions and who had contact with his president,” he wrote.
In December, Kushner also reportedly met with Putin associate with Sergey Gorkov, head of state-owned Vnesheconombank. The bank has attempted to soften sanctions the US imposed against Russia over the Crimea invasion.
“As Mr. Kushner has been saying since March, he has been and is prepared to voluntarily cooperate and provide whatever information he has on the investigations to Congress,”
Kushner will meet with the House intelligence committee on Tuesday.