Kushner to Congress: Russia meetings 'proper,' no collusion

By Andrew V. Pestano and Allen Cone
Jared Kushner speaks to the media outside the White House after meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
1 of 2 | Jared Kushner speaks to the media outside the White House after meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 24 (UPI) -- Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, said Monday his four meetings last year with Russians were "proper" and not an attempt to collude with them to win the election.

"All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign," Kushner told reporters outside the West Wing after giving two hours of testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence behind closed doors. "I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did."


During his 2 1/2-minute remarks at the White House, Kushner said Trump won the election because he ran a smarter campaign than Hillary Clinton and had a better message, and not because he had help from Russia.


"Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him," Kushner said.

Kushner, who rarely speaks publicly, said, "I have not sought the spotlight, in business and now in public service." He also said, "I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses."

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Kushner took no questions from reporters.

He will testify for the House Intelligence Committee at a closed-door session Tuesday.

In an 11-page statement released earlier, Kushner confirmed four contacts with Russians during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and during the transition period prior to Trump's inauguration. He confirmed meeting with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak; Sergey N. Gorkov, the head of Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank development bank; and Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Kushner said he has "disclosed these contacts and described them as fully as I can recall," adding that those meetings were his only contact with "persons who were or appeared to potentially be representatives of the Russian government" to the best of his recollection.

In meeting with the congressional intelligence committees, Kushner said he is "very grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight," adding that his meetings with Russians were not "impactful in any way to the election or particularly memorable."


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

Over the controversy that brewed over his SF-86 questionnaire form, which is needed to obtain a security clearance, Kushner said the document was submitted prematurely 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. 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," Kushner wrote, adding his assistant sent a "rough draft" that "still had many omissions, including not listing any foreign government" due to the "miscommunication."

Kushner's statements come as former FBI director Robert Mueller -- as special counsel -- investigates allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia in an effort to defeat Democratic candidate Clinton.

Donald J. Trump, Jr. and Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, are negotiating with congressional investigators about when they will testify.


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