News World Kushner denies collusion with Russia in Senate grilling
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Kushner denies collusion with Russia in Senate grilling

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner held a rare media conference outside the White House to refute claims of collusion. Photo: Getty
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Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, has denied any wrongdoing after admitting to four meetings with Russian officials in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election..

Speaking to media outside the White House on Monday morning (AEST) after a two-hour, closed-door grilling with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s link to the election, Mr Kushner said all his actions 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,” Mr Kushner said.

“I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information,” he addd.

Mr Kusher dismissed the notion that Russia was responsible for his father in law’s election victory.

“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him,’’ he said. 

Mr Kushner’s media conference echoed a written statement  released ahead of his Senate testimony that gave the fullest account to date of his contacts with Russian officials during the election and since.

“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” he said. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is one of several congressional panels investigating the Russia matter, along with a federal criminal probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

President Trump, who has branded the Russia investigations as politically motivated, lashed out at the investigations in Twitter messages on Monday night.

In his written statement ahead of his Senate meeting, Mr Kushner said he first met Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in Washington in April 2016 .

He said he did not recall phone calls with Mr Kislyak between April and November 2016, as reported by Reuters in May, had found no evidence of the calls in phone records and was skeptical they took place.

Mr Kushner said he met after the election, with Sergei Gorkov, the head of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank, because of Mr Kislyak’s insistence and because the Russian had a “direct relationship” with President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Kushner is scheduled to again meet Senate investigators on Tuesday, and will face questions about a June 2016 meeting involving Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

The younger Trump has released emails that showed he welcomed the prospect of receiving damaging information from the Russian government about Hillary Clinton.

Mr Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort were also at the meeting but Mr Kushner described it as a waste of time.

He said no part of the meeting he attended “included anything about the campaign” and he had no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted.

He said that in a December 1 meeting with Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador asked if there was a secure line in Trump’s transition office to facilitate a discussion with Russian generals about Syria, and Mr Kushner said he replied there was not.

Mr Kushner did not initially disclose any meetings with Russians on forms he filed to get a government security clearance. He has since revised those forms several times.

– With AAP

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