Jared Kushner says he has 'nothing to hide' ahead of Senate closed doors hearing over Russia meeting

Says he had 'perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives' during 2016 campaign

Samuel Osborne
Monday 24 July 2017 12:20
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'I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,' Jared Kushner says in statement
'I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,' Jared Kushner says in statement

Donald Trump's advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner told congressional committees he "did not collude" with any Russian officials around the 2016 election, and insisted he had nothing to hide.

"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," Mr Kushner said in a written statement released before his appearance in closed-door meetings with members of the US Congress.

"I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector," he said.

Bush's CIA director: Jared Kushner's dealings with Russia could be espionage

Mr Kushner said he had "perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives" during the 2016 campaign and presidential transition period after Trump's victory.

He said a June 2016 meeting with a Russian-American lawyer was such a "waste of time" that he asked his assistant to call him out of the gathering.

Emails released this month show that Mr Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, agreed to the meeting at Trump Tower on the understanding that he would receive damaging information about his father's presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

But Mr Kushner, who is married to the President's daughter Ivanka, said he had not seen those emails until recently shown them by his lawyers.

He said he arrived late and when he heard the lawyer discussing the issue of adoptions, he texted his assistant to call him out.

"No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there [or their names], and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted," the statement said.

Mr Kushner also denied reports he discussed setting up a secret back-channel with the Russian ambassador to the US.

He said he did speak with Sergey Kislyak in December at Trump Tower, but the conversation was about policy in Syria.

Mr Kushner said when Mr Kislyak asked if there was a secure line for him to provide information on Syria from what Mr Kislyak called his "generals," he asked if there was an existing communications channel at the embassy that could be used.

Mr Kushner said he never proposed an ongoing secret form of communication.

He also said he met with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, at the request of Mr Kislyak, but said no specific policies were discussed.

The President took to Twitter over the weekend to defend himself and repeat his criticism of the investigations.

On Sunday, Mr Trump tweeted: "As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!"

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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