Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, released an 11-page statement to Congressional Committees Monday prior to his closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Kushner is also expected to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
In the statement Kushner state that he is providing the statement, submitting documents and sitting for interviews to shed light on issues that have been raised about his roll in the presidential campaign and transition.
The money quote from the Statement is Kushners’s strong denial of any wrong doing:
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. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required [emphasis in the original].
Kushner also reminds us that in his business and now in public service he has worked on achieving goals and left the media and public perception to others. He explains that initially he did not intend to “play a large roll” in the Trump Campaign. Nevertheless his roll evolved and he was eventually he worked with finance, communications, speech writing polling data and digital teams and became a point of contact for foreign government officials:
All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously. When I was faced with a new challenge, I would reach out to contacts, ask advice, find the right person to manage the specific challenge, and work with that person to develop and execute a plan of action.
Kushner reminds us that his campaign actions should be “viewed through the lens of a fast-paced campaign with thousands of meetings and interactions,” and only some of which were impactful and memorable.
A third of the Statement is dedicated to discussing “Campaign Contacts with Foreign Persons.” This section is worth reading carefully. It leaves one with the impression that there remains no there, there regarding Colluding with the Russians:
My father-in-law asked me to be a point of contact with these foreign countries. These were not contacts that I initiated, but, over the course of the campaign, I had incoming contacts with people from approximately 15 countries. To put these requests in context, I must have received thousands of calls, letters and emails from people looking to talk or meet on a variety of issues and topics, including hundreds from outside the United States.
I called on a variety of people with deep experience, such as Dr. Henry Kissinger, for advice on policy for the candidate, which countries/representatives with which the campaign should engage, and what messaging would resonate. In addition, it was typical for me to receive 200 or more emails a day during the campaign. I did not have the time to read every one . . .
With respect to my contacts with Russia or Russian representatives during the campaign, there were hardly any.
With regard to meeting the Russian Ambassador at the reception at the Mayflower Hotel where then Candidate Trump gave a “major foreign speech,” Kushners’s statement explains it was merely a brief exchange of pleasantries — a simple meet and greet:
Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.
In addition, Kushner belittles the infamous meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. and the Russian Lawyer.
Kushner also addresses the alleged deficiencies on his security clearance form:
I have previously explained, my SF-86 application was prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not list any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government officials. Here are some facts about that form and the efforts I have made to supplement it.
In the week before the Inauguration, amid the scramble of finalizing the unwinding of my involvement from my company, moving my family to Washington, completing the paper work to divest assets and resign from my outside positions and complete my security and financial disclosure forms, people at my New York office were helping me find the information, organize it, review it and put it into the electronic form.
Kushner explains that because of a “miscommunication” his draft form, which didn’t yet contain the foreign contacts was submitted prematurely on January 18, 2017:
That evening, when we realized the form had been submitted prematurely, we informed the transition team that we needed to make changes and additions to the form. The very next day, January 19, 2017, we 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.
I’m sure the Trump haters will have a field day interviewing Kushner. But the more they try to make an issue out of meet and greets and such, the more they diminish any credibility they might have.
It’s worth reading the entire statement.
Axios reports, “The stakes for the congressional interviews are high for Kushner because the Trump son-in-law is of acute interest to special counsel Bob Mueller, and prosecutors can be expected to pick apart today’s statement.”
Former campaign manager Paul Manafort, son Donald Trump Jr., plus senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner have all agreed to answer questions from Congress.”