Ahead Of Pivotal Vote On Health Care, Kushner Denies Collusion With Russia

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner says he “did not collude with Russia,” adding that he has had “no improper contacts.”

Kushner gave a statement outside the White House Monday following a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russia.

“I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said.

He said he has been “consistent” in saying that he has been “eager to share any information I have with the investigating bodies and I have done so today.”

“The record and documents that I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred during the normal course of events during a unique campaign,” he said.

Kushner went on to say that serving in the White House has been the “honor and privilege of a lifetime.”

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

In an 11-page statement released ahead of the closed-door meeting, Kushner said he met with a Russian back in December. Around that same time, he also met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. He says he was looking to establish a line of communication between Russia and then national security adviser Michael Flynn to talk about Syria.

He also said he had “thousands of meetings and interactions, some of which were impactful and memorable and many of which were not.”

“The whole purpose of the meeting is for the guy to explain, ‘Here’s how I met the Russian ambassador, here’s what we talked about, here’s how I met the banker guy, here’s what we talked about,'” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham

“His counsel has said they’ll only make him available for two hours, so we expect this is just going to be the first interview,” said California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. “But there’s a great many questions that we’ll have for Mr. Kushner.”

Trump slammed the top Democrat on the House Committee Monday morning, tweeting: “Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into ‘Russia,’ spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!”

He then took a shot at his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, calling him “beleaguered” and asking why he and Congress aren’t investigating Hillary Clinton as well.

When he took a photo with the White House interns, he as asked if Sessions should step down. As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, the question was met with an eye roll and laughter from the audience.

The president was also tackling the stalled healthcare legislation, meeting with what the White House calls the victims of Obamacare.

“So far Senate Republicans have not done their job to end the Obamacare nightmare,” Trump sad, adding that the Senate will vote Tuesday to try opening up debate on a bill.

The president spent the day Monday pressuring the Senate to pass a healthcare bill, and had a message for his Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price during a gathering of Boy Scouts in West Virginia.

“By the way, you’re gonna get the votes,” Trump said. “He better get them otherwise I’ll say you’re fired.”

The president wants to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans a vote that would bring the bill to the floor for debate.

But Republican Senators are not yet clear what bill they will be voting on.

“I don’t think that’s a good approach to legislation that affects millions of people and one sixth of our economy,” Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said.

With Democrats united in opposition, it would take only three Republican no votes to scuttle the legislation.

“Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare,” Trump said Monday.

Meanwhile, Kushner will return to Capitol Hill this week along with Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign manager Paul Manafort to face more questioning from lawmakers.

Kushner will also speak to the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday.

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