Kushner Denies Collusion With Russia 07/24 06:07
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."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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
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 the Senate and House intelligence panels this week.
Kushner is meeting with staff on the Senate committee Monday and lawmakers
on the House committee Tuesday as part of both panels' investigations into
Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and possible links to the Trump campaign.
Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka, says none of the
contacts was improper. He also denies that Russians finance any of his business
in the private sector.
"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded,
with any foreign government," Kushner said in the statement.
In it, he also details 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.
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 recently shown them 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's statement says.
Kushner also denies reports he discussed setting up a secret back-channel
with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
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
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.
He also says he met with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, at the request of
Kislyak. But he says no specific policies were discussed.
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. But on Friday their attorneys said they remained in
negotiations with that panel. The two men are now in discussions to be
privately interviewed by staff or lawmakers, though the GOP chairman of the
committee, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, has said they will eventually testify in
The president took to Twitter over the weekend to defend himself and repeat
his criticism of the investigations. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: "As the phony
Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost
election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!"