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Jared Kushner details Russia contacts, denies collusion

Jared Kushner denied colluding with Moscow as he sought to explain meetings with Russian officials that have come under intense scrutiny as part of the FBI investigation that is engulfing US President Donald Trump

25 July 2017, 8:16am
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top White House aide Jared Kushner
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top White House aide Jared Kushner
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top White House aide, Jared Kushner, emerged from behind the scenes on Monday to tell Senate investigators he had no part in any Kremlin attempt to meddle in the US election despite having met Russians four times last year.

Kushner told the Senate intelligence committee that he had “nothing to hide” as he described four meetings with Russians that occurred during the campaign and the transition after the election.

"All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign," said in written testimony released on Monday, which he subsequently read out verbatim at a short press briefing following his committee appearance. "I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did."

Kushner, 36, met Senate Intelligence Committee staff behind closed doors for about two hours. Reuters news agency cited two sources with knowledge of what Kushner told them as saying that the session was pleasant and conversational.

A businessman married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka Trump, Kushner has rarely spoken in public since his father-in-law launched his presidential campaign in mid-2015. "I am not a person who has sought the spotlight," he wrote in the 11-page statement.

Trump prevailed over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in November 2016 because he ran a "smarter campaign" and to suggest otherwise "ridicules those who voted for him," Kushner said at the White House. He took no questions.

The congressional committee is one of several investigating the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, engaged in a hacking and propaganda campaign to try to tilt the November election in Trump's favor.

Kushner is one of several Trump campaign aides who are being forced to answer for meetings or connections with Russian officials. Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, and Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, are expected to testify before another Senate committee about their Russia connections.

Russia denies the accusation and Trump denies his campaign colluded with Moscow.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading a separate probe into the Russia matter.