WASHINGTON, D.C.: Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top White House advisor Jared Kushner denied colluding with Moscow to sway the 2016 election on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), insisting a string of undisclosed meetings with Russian officials were “proper.”
“Let me be very clear—I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said after he testified before a congressional inquiry.
The normally camera-shy presidential aide said contacts with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a Russian financier and a Russian lawyer—who offered dirt on his father-in-law’s campaign rival Hillary Clinton—were all above board.
“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 spent more than two hours Monday appearing before Senate investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Both houses of Congress and the Justice Department are investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded in that effort—which the CIA says was approved by President Vladimir Putin.
The sprawling probe has plagued and infuriated the White House since Trump took office, with many influential members of his team having failed to report their contacts with Russian officials.
Speaking on his return to the White House—where he is a senior advisor to the president—Kushner said he has not “relied” on Russian funds for his business.
He also went on the offensive, echoing Trump’s claim that the investigations are an effort by Democrats to explain away a shock election loss.
“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won,” said Kushner, a former campaign aide.
The statement was the first time the reticent Kushner—who is married to Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka—publicly explained his contacts with Russian officials.
Kushner is scheduled to appear before a House panel on Tuesday.
Special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller is leading a broad investigation into possible collusion. The House and Senate, however, have organized separate probes.
The 36-year-old Kushner has faced scrutiny for not disclosing meetings and for taking part in talks with Kremlin-connected Russians along with Trump’s son Donald Jr.