Jared Kushner returned from a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday to reiterate the message he gave to investigators earlier in the day.
“Let me be very clear,” Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top White House adviser, said in a public statement delivered outside the White House shortly after his meeting on Capitol Hill. “I did not collude with Russia nor do I know anyone in the campaign who did so.”
The Senate committee, along with its House counterpart and the FBI, is probing Russian efforts to influence last year’s election.
“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 bodies, and I have done so today,” Kushner 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 events of a very unique campaign.”
Kushner also took a shot at critics who suggest Russia’s interference helped Trump win the election.
“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a better campaign, and that is why he won,” Kushner said. “Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.”
After delivering his statement from an official White House lectern, Kushner left without taking questions from reporters.
Earlier Monday, Kushner released a lengthy statement to both congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, insisting that neither he nor anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner wrote in a 3,700-word statement released on Monday, hours before his appearance before the committee. Kushner is also scheduled to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee in a private session on Tuesday.
Kushner, who served as a senior adviser to Trump during the campaign, said he was largely overwhelmed by “a fast-paced” environment in which he took thousands of meetings and received thousands of emails — including the one that led to the controversial sit-down Donald Trump Jr. had arranged with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. Kushner said he did not recall the meeting until he was reviewing emails in response to committee requests.
“In June 2016, my brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr., asked if I was free to stop by a meeting on June 9 at 3:00 p.m.,” Kushner stated. “He eventually sent me his own email changing the time of the meeting to 4:00 p.m. That email was on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time. As I did with most emails when I was working remotely, I quickly reviewed on my iPhone the relevant message that the meeting would occur at 4:00 PM at his office. Documents confirm my memory that this was calendared as ‘Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner.’ No one else was mentioned.”
The emails — which were disclosed earlier this month by Trump Jr. after the New York Times obtained copies — have come under intense scrutiny by lawmakers, who say it is the first tangible piece of evidence showing the Trump campaign was willing to collude with Russia.
Kushner suggested he did not know what would be discussed at the meeting, but said that after he arrived it was quickly apparent that the discussion was “a waste of time” — so much so that he emailed his assistant to call him in order to get him out of it.
“Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting,” Kushner said he wrote in the email.
Kushner also said that he could not recall two phone calls he reportedly had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He said he had trouble even remembering the ambassador’s name.
The president’s son-in-law disclosed two meetings he had with Russian officials during the transition. In a Dec. 1 meeting at Trump Tower with Kislyak and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser-designate, Kushner said he “stated our desire for a fresh start in relations” and asked the Russian ambassador about setting up “direct discussions” with Vladimir Putin.
“The fact that I was asking about ways to start a dialogue after Election Day should of course be viewed as strong evidence that I was not aware of one that existed before Election Day,” Kushner noted in his statement.
Then on Dec. 13, Kushner said he met with Sergei Gorkov, who he was told was a Russian banker “with a direct line” to Putin. Kushner said that Gorkov presented him with gifts and expressed a desire for better U.S.-Russian relations.
“There were no specific policies discussed,” Kushner stressed. “We had no discussion about the sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration.”
Kushner added that he had “no improper contacts” with “any foreign government” and has tried to be “fully transparent” in the refiling of his security clearance form.
“Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest,” Kushner’s statement concluded.
Read more from Yahoo News:
- ‘I did not collude’: Kushner releases 3,700-word statement on Russia
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- Ex-CIA chief: Russia meddling was ‘most successful covert operation in history’
- Trump, in angry Twitter spree, declares ‘the complete power to pardon’
- Departing White House press secretary says good riddance to press