Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior advisor of President Donald Trump, today flatly denied colluding with Russia during the 2016 election, saying he had no “improper” contacts with the Russian officials.
Giving a detailed explanation, Kushner in an 11-page statement said he hopes that that he has been able to demonstrate the entirety of his “limited contacts with Russian representatives during the campaign and transition”.
Kushner’s statement came hours before his meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee staff.
“It has been my practice not to appear in the media or leak information in my own defence. I have tried to focus on the important work at hand and serve this President and this country to the best of my abilities,” Kushner said.
“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 said.
Kushner’s transparency was lauded by President Trump.
“The President was very proud of Jared for voluntarily going to the Hill and being very transparent with every interaction that he’s had,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said quoting President Trump.
Kushner said that the record and documents he provided to the committee shows that he had perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives out of thousands during the campaign and transition, none of which were impactful in any way to the election or particularly memorable.
The president’s son-in-law said over the last six months, he made every effort to provide the FBI with whatever information was needed to investigate his background.
He is scheduled to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on allegations related to his alleged connections with the Russians.
“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him,” he said.
“It is an honour to work with President Trump and his administration as we take on the challenges that he was elected to face: creating jobs for American people, keeping America safe and eliminating barriers to achieving the American dream,” he said.
In a brief statement to the press at the White House, Kushner said when his father-in-law decided to run for president, he served his campaign the best he could, because he believes in him and his ability to improve the lives of all Americans.
“And now, serving the president ant the people of the United States has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on important matters such as Middle East peace and reinvigorating America’s innovative spirit. Every day, I come to work with enthusiasm and excitement for what can be,” he said.
“The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign,” he said.
Kushner said in the week before the inauguration, amid the scramble of finalising the unwinding of his involvement from his company, moving his family to Washington, completing the paper work to divest assets and resign from his outside positions and complete his security and financial disclosure forms, people at his New York office were helping him find the information and organise 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. At that point, the form was a rough draft and still had many omissions including not listing any foreign government contacts and even omitted the address of my father-in-law (which was obviously well known).
Because of this miscommunication, my assistant submitted the draft on January 18, 2017,” he explained.
That evening, Kushner said, when his team realised the form had been submitted prematurely, they informed the transition team that they needed to make changes and additions to the form.
The very next day, January 19, 2017, they submitted supplemental information to the transition, which confirmed receipt and said they would immediately transmit it to the FBI.
“The supplement disclosed that I had “numerous contacts with foreign officials” and that we were going through my records to provide an accurate and complete list. I provided a list of those contacts in the normal course, before my background investigation interview and prior to any inquiries or media reports about my form,” he said.
“It has been reported that my submission omitted only contacts with Russians. That is not the case,” Kushner said.