President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will return to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a second day of private meetings with congressional investigators, this time for a closed-door conversation with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee.
Kushner on Monday answered questions from staff on the Senate's intelligence panel, acknowledging four meetings with Russians during and after Trump's victorious White House bid and insisting he had "nothing to hide." He emerged smiling to publicly declare, "All of my actions were proper."
A quiet insider who generally avoids the spotlight, Kushner is the first top Trump lieutenant to be quizzed by the congressional investigators probing Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Hours before the Senate meeting, Kushner released an 11-page statement that was billed as his remarks to both the Senate and House committees. In it, he acknowledged his Russian contacts during the campaign and then the following weeks, in which he served as a liaison between the transition and foreign governments. He described each contact as either insignificant or routine and he said the meetings, along with several others, were omitted from his security clearance form because of an aide's error. Kushner cast himself as a political novice learning in real time to juggle "thousands of meetings and interactions" in a fast-paced campaign.
"Let me be very clear," Kushner said afterward in a rare public statement at the White House. "I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so."
Kushner's statement was the first detailed defense from a campaign insider responding to the controversy that has all but consumed the first six months of Trump's presidency. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia sought to tip the 2016 campaign in Trump's favor. Congressional committees, as well as a Justice Department special counsel, are investigating whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia in that effort and whether the president has sought to hamper the investigations.
Kushner said Monday he "will continue to cooperate as I have nothing to hide."
Trump watched on TV as Kushner made his appearance outside the West Wing and "thought Jared did a great job," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said his House testimony on Tuesday would show "what a hoax this entire thing is."
Trump also took aim at the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, calling him "sleazy" in a tweet and saying he "spends all of his time on television." Schiff said on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday that he has a "great many questions" for Kushner.