WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said in prepared remarks to congressional committees that he “did not collude, nor did I know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.”
He also dismissed reports that he was seeking to establish a secret back channel with Russian authorities during the presidential transition period, and said that his failure to initially list contacts with Russian officials on a security clearance form was an inadvertent mistake.
“I had no improper contacts,” Kushner wrote. “I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent in the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required.”
Kushner submitted an 11-page summary of testimony to Senate and House intelligence committees, where he is to testify behind closed doors on Monday and Tuesday.
Kushner said that he sought a direct line of communication with the Kremlin and Trump’s presidential transition during a meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. The meeting occurred at Trump Tower on Dec. 1, and also was attended by Michael Flynn, who would briefly serve as Trump’s national security adviser.
According to Kushner, Kislyak said that he wanted to convey information about Syria, but that the Russian military generals could not easily convey it.
He and Flynn told Kislyak that the transition office had no secure line, Kushner wrote.
“I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn,” Kushner wrote. “The Ambassador said that would not be possible, so we all agreed that we would receive this information after the inauguration.”
Kushner also wrote that a meeting he had on Dec. 13 with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, was scheduled after repeated requests by the Russian embassy. But he said that there were “no specific policies discussed,” nor was there “any discussion about my companies, business transactions, real estate projects, loans, banking arrangements, or any private business of any kind.”
He said that his initial failure to disclose the meetings on a security clearance form was due to his assistant’s premature submission of a draft. The next day, on Jan. 19, he wrote, he informed the transition that he 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 these contacts in the normal course, before my background investigation interview and prior to any media inquiries or media reports about my form,” he wrote. But he said that the draft security clearance form left off all foreign contacts — not just those of Russian officials.
He said that one meeting with a foreign contact he did not recall until more recently, “in response to congressional requests for information.” That was a June 9 meeting with a Russian lawyer that was arranged by Donald Trump Jr.
Kushner wrote that he received an email from Trump’s son about the time of the meeting, but it was “on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time.” The exchange showed that the meeting was to discuss potentially damaging information that the attorney had about Hillary Clinton.
When Kushner arrived late at the meeting, the Russian attorney was talking about a ban on adoptions, he wrote. Kushner said that he realized that the meeting was a “waste of time,” he was looking for a “polite way to leave.” He said that he actually emailed his assistant, “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.”
Trump Jr. also said that the meeting turned out to be a waste of time.