Ahead of Senate hearing, Kushner says Russia meetings not ‘improper’

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, arrives on Capitol Hill to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee on his contacts with Russian officials during the general election, at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington on Monday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

July 24 (UPI) — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, said Monday he had no additional contacts with possible Russian agents outside of four meetings he’s already confirmed.

In an 11-page statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Kushner suggested nothing inappropriate occurred in the meetings.

The statement was reported hours before he was scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a closed-door interview on Monday. Kushner will testify for the House Intelligence Committee at a closed-door session Tuesday.

In his statement, 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 in his written statement that 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 statement and subsequent scheduled appearances before the congressional committees comes 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 Hillary Clinton in last fall’s presidential election.


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