Trump son-in-law details contacts with Russians, denies collusion

Updated: 2017-07-25 09:12

Trump son-in-law details contacts with Russians, denies collusion

Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner speaks outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, US, July 24, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, told Senate investigators on Monday he had met with Russian officials four times last year but said he did not collude with Moscow to influence the 2016 US election.

A businessman like Trump, Kushner portrayed himself as new to politics when he became a top adviser to Trump's campaign.

Frantic fielding of phone calls and emails made his recollections of some meetings somewhat hazy, he said.

Kushner, who met behind closed doors with Senate Intelligence Committee staff, made the remarks in a written statement that he issued before the meeting and that gave the fullest account to date of his contacts with Russian officials.

"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," he wrote. "I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector."

US intelligence agencies have determined that Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, engaged in a campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to tilt the November election in Trump's favor. Russia denies the allegations and Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Moscow.

Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, met committee staff for about two hours on Capitol Hill and then returned to the White House where he made a statement to reporters outside but did not take questions.

"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 said.

Trump prevailed over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in November 2016 because he ran a "smarter campaign" and to suggest otherwise "ridicules those who voted for him,” he said.

Trump, who has called the Russia probes politically motivated, lashed out at the investigations in Twitter messages on Monday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is one of several congressional panels investigating the Russia matter, along with a criminal probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Kushner arrived on Capitol Hill with prominent white-collar defense lawyer Abbe Lowell.

Two sources with knowledge of what Kushner told the Senate staff said the session was pleasant and conversational and that there may be another interview.

Kushner did not initially disclose any meetings with Russians on forms he filed to get a government security clearance for his work in the White House. He has since revised those forms several times.

According to the sources, Kushner told the investigators that his lawyers and staff had not handled his security clearance form properly but they informed the FBI immediately when they realized it had been sent before it was complete, and then submitted a complete version. He said in his written statement that the initial form omitted not just Russian contacts but all foreign contacts.



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