WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a trusted top aide, said Monday after meeting behind closed doors with Senate investigators that he had no improper contacts with Russian officials and did not collude with Moscow during the 2016 election.
“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,” Kushner said outside the West Wing in a rare public statement. “Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.”
The senior White House adviser met for two hours on Capitol Hill with Senate Intelligence Committee staff to discuss four conversations he had with Kremlin or Kremlin-linked contacts during the campaign and transition.
One was the June 2016 meeting Donald Trump Jr. had arranged at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer that an intermediary promised had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Kushner in a lengthy written statement released before his Senate sit-down said he quickly determined the meeting, which focused on adoptions, to be a “waste” of his time. He said he did not read the email chain Trump Jr. forwarded to him referencing anti-Clinton information gathered by the Kremlin.
Congressional committees and the FBI are conducting probes into Moscow’s attempts to influence the election and any role Trump’s inner circle may have played.
Just before Kushner met with the Senate staff, the president tweeted his displeasure at the probes in a post that doubled as a dig at Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?”
Trump told The New York Times last week that he regretted appointing Sessions because the attorney general ultimately recused himself from Russia-related probes.
Later Monday, when reporters asked Trump whether Sessions should resign, the president rolled his eyes. Trump instructed the reporters to be “quiet” during what was his photo session with White House interns.
Sessions was at the White House on Monday but did not meet with Trump, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Monday night, The Washington Post reported that Trump and his advisers have discussed replacing Sessions, according to people familiar with the talks, with some confidants floating potential replacements if the attorney general were to be fired or resign.
Also Monday, Trump attacked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, for his frequent TV news appearances.
“Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into ‘Russia,’ spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!” the president tweeted.
Schiff responded with a jab at the president’s habit of tweeting as he takes in cable TV news.
“With respect Mr. President, the problem is how often you watch TV, and that your comments and actions are beneath the dignity of the office,” he tweeted.
Kushner was scheduled to meet Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee.
Kushner said he has nothing to hide and there is nothing more to disclose beyond his four meetings with Russian representatives.
The first was the June 2016 meeting with Trump Jr., Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and others.
The second and third were with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., and December 2016 at Trump Tower, where former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn also was in attendance.
The fourth was a December 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, who said he is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses,” Kushner told reporters.
His remarks reflected Trump’s view that the Russia-related controversies are attempts at delegitimizing his election victory.
“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won,” Kushner said. “Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.”
U.S. intelligence and national security officials have said the Kremlin was not successful in changing votes but did throw the campaign into chaos and will meddle again in future elections.