Jared Kushner released a lengthy statement Monday morning detailing his contacts with foreign agents and officials during the presidential campaign, hours before he’s scheduled to face Senate investigators in a closed-door hearing.
The president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser gave his first public account of four interactions with Russians — two meetings with the Russian ambassador in Washington, one meeting with the head of a Russian state-owned bank and the June 2016 meeting between a Kremlin-linked lawyer and others set up by Donald Trump Jr. — during the 2016 campaign and transition.
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner said in the 11-page statement. “I had no improper contacts. 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.”
Kushner disputed a Reuters report describing two phone calls between April and November 2016 with ambassador Sergey Kislyak, saying he did not remember the calls and claiming a review of his land line and cell phone records finds no evidence of the calls.
He also provided an email he says shows he asked his assistant to help bail him out of the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with a Russian attorney promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting,” Kushner says in the email, which was provided to congressional investigators but not the media.
Kushner also claimed he was unaware of the meeting’s supposed purpose, although the subject line for the email chain released by Trump Jr. setting up the encounter was “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.”
He also claimed he arrived to the meeting “a little late” and heard no discussion of campaign-related matters, although his brother-in-law previously confirmed Natalia Veselnitskaya alleged she had information showing individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee.
Kushner claimed in the statement that he failed to disclose these encounters and others in his SF-86 form — which is required to obtain a security clearance — because the document was prematurely sent by his assistant.
“People at my New York office were helping me find the information, organize it, review it and put it into the electronic form,” Kushner said. “They sent an email to my assistant in Washington, communicating that the changes to one particular section were complete; my assistant interpreted that message as meaning that the entire form was completed. Because of this miscommunication, my assistant submitted the draft on January 18, 2017.”