Pres. Trump’s son-in-law issues new statement: “I did not collude”
(CNN) — Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said in a statement Monday to the Senate and House intelligence committees that he had no additional contacts with individuals who were or may have been Russian government representatives, beyond those that have already been publicly disclosed.
In an 11-page statement released Monday ahead of his closed-door interview with Senate intelligence committee staff, Kushner offers his first public accounting of what he says are his four meetings with Russians during the 2016 campaign and transition, offering previously undisclosed details of those meetings. Kushner insists in the letter that he discussed nothing improper during those meetings, which include two encounters with the Russian ambassador in Washington, a meeting with the head of a Russian state-owned bank and the June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and others that was set up by Kushner’s brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr.
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner says in the statement. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required. Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest.”
Kushner also disputes a Reuters report claiming he had two phone calls between April and November 2016 with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, explaining that he has no recollection of those calls and a “comprehensive review of my land line and cell phone records from the time does not reveal those calls.”
The Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 prompted Kushner to email his assistant about 10 minutes after he walked into the room.
“Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting,” Kushner wrote to his assistant in an email provided to the committees alongside the statement. The emails were quoted in the statement, but not disclosed to the media.
The previously undisclosed detail is just one of several that Kushner reveals in the letter in an effort to clear himself of any suspicions stemming from the congressional and federal investigations into contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
The June 2016 meeting set up by Trump Jr., which was only publicly revealed for the first time this month, has become a target of scrutiny in those investigations after emails revealed that Trump Jr. believed he would obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. President Donald Trump has repeatedly decried the investigations as a “witch hunt,” but the meeting offered the most concrete evidence that Trump campaign officials were open to collaborating with the Russian government.
Kushner also addresses the controversy over his SF-86 form — the questionnaire needed to obtain a security clearance — explaining that it was prematurely submitted in error by his assistant, who believed the forms were complete.
“People at my New York office were helping me find the information, organize it, review it and put it into the electronic form. They sent an email to my assistant in Washington, communicating that the changes to one particular section were complete; my assistant interpreted that message as meaning that the entire form was completed,” Kushner writes, noting that the form was a “rough draft” at the time. “Because of this miscommunication, my assistant submitted the draft on January 18, 2017.”