Congress

‘I did not collude with Russia’ Kushner insists in statement for Senate panel

In this June 22, 2017, file photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
In this June 22, 2017, file photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington. AP

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner Monday said he did not collude with Russia or any foreign government during the 2016 presidential election, in a statement prepared to be given to the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating collusion.

The 11 page statement released Monday morning came just hours before Kushner, also President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was to talk to a Senate panel investigating possible collusion between the campaign and Russian government in the 2016 presidential campaign. The statement addresses a broad range of reported allegations regarding Kushner that have surfaced in the last months.

"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts," he said in the statement. "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."

Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote ‘Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting

Jared Kushner, on his role in a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney.

He said that while he attended a June, 2016, meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, which was set up to reveal information that was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump," to him that meeting was a just line in a planner: "Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner."

"I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children," he said in the statement. "I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting. Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote ‘Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.’"

Beyond the denial, Kushner’s statement both praises his father-in-law’s campaign and describes the struggles of moving from the private sector to the highest levels of government.

He stated: "It was not my initial intent to play a large role in my father-in-law's campaign when he decided to run for President. However, as the campaign progressed, I was called on to assist with various tasks and aspects of the campaign, and took on more and more responsibility."

He explained that as the tasks were all new to him, "I would reach out to contacts, ask advice, find the right person to manage the specific challenge, and work with that person to develop and execute a plan of action."

From Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to former campaign director Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's allies have business and personal connections to Russia. As Congress and the FBI look into Russia's involvement with the 2016 election, those

While he says that being a point of contact for foreign governments was one of his roles, "With respect to my contacts with Russia or Russian representatives during the campaign, there were hardly any."

He goes on to describe those he can recall.

He addressed a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. He said, "We shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries."

He estimated the meeting took less than a minute. He added that while he doesn’t have a specific memory of the conversation, he remembers that several of the ambassadors present gave him business cards and asked him to lunch at their embassies, and that he did not follow up on any of the invitations.

He said he had no recollection of two phone calls with Kislyak he reportedly had during April and November 2016. He said that after reviewing his phone records, "I am highly skeptical those calls took place."

Matthew Schofield: 202-383-6066, @mattschodcnews

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