No Russia collusion, Kushner tells Congress
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump’s White House bid and declared he has “nothing to hide.’’
Behind closed doors, Kushner spoke to staff members of the Senate intelligence committee for nearly three hours at the Capitol, then made a brief public statement back at the White House.
“Let me be very clear,’’ he said. “I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.’’
Kushner left without taking questions. In an 11-page statement, released hours before the Capitol session, he detailed four contacts with Russians during Trump’s campaign and transition. It aimed to explain inconsistencies and omissions in a security clearance form that have invited public scrutiny.
In the statement, Kushner said that none of his contacts, which included meetings at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador and a Russian lawyer, was improper.
Kushner arrived Monday morning at a Senate office building, exiting a black sport utility vehicle and greeting photographers with a grin and a wave. When he left, he responded to shouted questions, saying the interview went “great’’ and that he answered as many questions “as they had.’’
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 _ became the first member of the president’s inner circle to face questions from congressional investigators as they probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. He is to meet with lawmakers on the House intelligence committee Tuesday.
Kushner’s appearances have been highly anticipated, in part because of headlines in recent months about his interactions with Russians and because he had not personally responded to questions about an incomplete security clearance form and his conversations with foreigners.
“I have shown today that I am willing to do so and will continue to co-operate as I have nothing to hide,’’ he said in the statement.
The document provides for the first time Kushner’s own recollection of a meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to talk about secure lines of communications and, months earlier, of a gathering with a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information to provide about Hillary Clinton.
In the document, Kushner calls the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya such a “waste of time’’ that he asked his assistant to call him out of the gathering.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, centre, and his attorney Abbe Lowell, right, depart Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday.