Jared Kushner 'lying about his contacts with Russia,' says Watergate prosecutor

'These are just lies, they are not believable,' says Jill Wine-Banks

Emily Shugerman
New York
Wednesday 26 July 2017 23:50
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Former Watergate prosecutor says Jared Kushner's explanations are blatant lies

Jared Kushner’s statement denying collusion with Russia is “blatantly ridiculous,” a former Watergate prosecutor has claimed.

Jill Wine-Banks, who worked as an assistant special prosecutor for the Department of Justice during their investigation of Richard Nixon, analysed Mr Kushner’s remarks in an interview on MSNBC’s The Last Word.

“First I want to say it was a very smoothly written document,” Ms Wine-Banks said of the statement. “He clearly has a very good lawyer. But as soon as you start to probe it, it falls apart. The explanations that are offered seem blatantly ridiculous.”

Mr Kushner released the 11-page document ahead of his hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week. In the statement, the President’s son-in-law and top adviser said he “did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government”.

The former real estate developer also delved into his controversial meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer last June.

The meeting has raised questions about Trump campaign ties to Russia, but Mr Kushner dismissed it in his statement as a “waste of time”. He claimed he did not know the subject of the meeting when he arrived, and made a hasty exit when he heard the lawyer talking about US adoptions of Russian children.

Ms Wine-Banks was sceptical of Mr Kushner’s account.

“The most incredible to me is, ‘I didn’t know what I was going to that meeting for. I had no idea what it was about,’” she said. “‘And when I got there it was about adoptions, and so I was just bored and wanted to leave.’”

Ms Wine-Banks said every witness to the meeting should be interviewed. She also suggested checking with Mr Kushner’s assistant to see if he had indeed emailed her: "Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting,” as he claims to have done.

The former prosecutor also took issue with the more than 100 foreign contacts that Mr Kushner initially left off of his security clearance form. Among those contacts was a meeting with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, where The New York Times reports the two discussed setting up a secret backchannel between Washington and Moscow. Mr Kushner denies this report.

“There are so many questions,” Ms Wine-Banks concluded. “And almost everything when you really probe it, even though it sounds credible when you first read it – when you think about it, you want to tear your hair out and think, These are just lies, they are not believable.”

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