CAPITOL HILL: Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, faces questions in a closed-door interview Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee as part of its probe into Russian meddling in last year’s election. As he entered the hearing room, Kusher smiled but did not speak to reporters.
He spoke Monday to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a similar closed-door session, while also publicly denying that he or anyone else with the Trump campaign had any improper contacts with Russia leading up to or after the November 2016 vote.
“I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said at the White House in a brief statement after the meeting with the Senate committee investigators.
“I had no improper contacts,” Kushner said. “I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses, and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.” He said that all of his “actions were proper, and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign.”
WATCH: Kushner delivers statement after Senate meeting
Trump applauds Kushner
President Trump used Twitter on Tuesday to express satisfaction with what Kushner said Monday.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and former campaign manager Paul Manafort are also sharing information with another panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, also an adviser to her father, told reporters that “serving the president and 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.” He took no questions from reporters.
In a written statement issued before his appearance on Capitol Hill, Kushner confirmed that he, the younger Trump and Manafort met with a Russian lawyer and other figures tied to Moscow last June, but asserted he arrived late to the meeting and heard no discussions of the presidential campaign.
That meeting has become a focal point for numerous investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election aimed at helping Trump win after his son Donald Jr. released emails expressing eagerness for what he expected the Russian attorney would provide: incriminating material about Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 election opponent.
Donald Trump Jr. and Manafort were initially scheduled to appear this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But that testimony has been postponed based on an understanding that the two men will provide the committee with records and other information.
Nevertheless, the Judiciary Committee said in a statement it issued a subpoena Monday night to compel Manafort to testify after failing to “reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview” with the committee. The statement said Manafort agreed to provide only one transcribed interview to Congress, “which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff.”
“While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request, ultimately that was not possible,” the statement said.
No mention of key events
Kushner, in his statement Monday, made no mention of some key events that are pertinent to the Russia probe, including President Trump’s firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, who was leading the agency’s Russia probe before Special Counsel Robert Mueller, another former FBI director, took over.
Kushner’s statement does not rule out the possibility of Russian election interference, which the U.S. intelligence community has concluded was directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rather, it asserts that Kushner himself had no interactions or knowledge about plots from Moscow by himself or anyone else.
Push for public testimony
Kushner’s closed-door cooperation with the congressional committee whetted some lawmakers’ appetites for public testimony.
“Kushner’s statement … raises far more questions than it answers,” said Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon. “It is imperative that the public hear Jared Kushner testify in an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee, under oath, and support his claims with full transparency in the form of emails, documents and financial records.
“There should be no presumption that he is telling the whole truth in this statement,” Wyden added.