Jared Kushner shall appear on Monday to deliver testimony on Russia to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but there are a few catches. He will not only do so behind closed doors, but he won’t do so under oath (even though it is illegal to lie while testifying before Congress). Ahead of his appearance, Kushner released his prepared testimony, in which he reveals four meetings with Russian representatives (one of which hasn’t been disclosed until now). Throughout, the Trump son-in-law insists that he did not act improperly.
Within the statement, Kushner states that he had no knowledge of what had been promised at Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer. In fact, Kushner says that he messaged an assistant during the shindig to ask for a phone call (i.e., a “polite” excuse to leave) because it “was a waste of our time.” Elsewhere, the wording of Kushner’s statement is odd at some moments, including when he mentions “perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives.” The operative word for anyone who questions his intent would be “perhaps,” since Kushner has a record of amending his security form and has (recently) added over 100 foreign contacts that he failed to previously disclose. Here’s the gist of Kushner’s statement:
“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 [security clearance] form, above and beyond what is required.”
Kushner, whose real estate company tried and failed to get a half-billion-dollar payout from Qatar (which has since come under fire by the Trump administration for terrorist ties while Saudi Arabia evades the same scrutiny), also maintains that he didn’t use Russian contacts to further his business interests. Throughout the statement, Kushner further paints himself as somewhat naive — a businessman-at-heart who gradually took on more responsibility in the Trump campaign and transition:
“[A]s the campaign progressed, I was called on to assist with various tasks and aspects of the campaign, and took on more and more responsibility. Over the course of the primaries and general election campaign, my role continued to evolve. I ultimately worked with the finance, scheduling, communications, speechwriting, polling, data and digital teams, as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials. All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously.”
This sentiment fits in with the Trump team narrative that we’ve seen so far, which is that they’re not experienced politicians, so maybe some unorthodox stuff happened along the way, simply because they didn’t know any better? Speaking of which, Kushner will detail how much of his job involved overseeing foreign contacts without the customary experience to do so. He’ll also discuss his talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak while denying that their conversations involved sanctions or any private business deals and were ultimately brief and uneventful.
However and since Kushner’s upcoming testimony won’t be public, we may not hear much about what happens during Kushner’s live appearance, unless some committee senators spill the goods — and that could happen.