In leaked intern talk, Kushner says Trump campaign too unorganized for Russian collusion
The President's Senior Advisor, Jared Kushner says he 'did not collude with Russia' or does he know of anyone else who did. This comes after Kushner met with Senate investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. (July 24) AP
In a leaked, off-the-record conversation with congressional interns, White House adviser and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner said the Trump campaign was too unorganized to collude with Russia, according to media reports.
“They thought we colluded, but we couldn’t even collude with our local offices,” Kushner told the interns, according to Foreign Policy.
When asked about special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Kushner reportedly admitted, "We don’t know where it’s going."
An intern director told those attending the talk not to leak what was said, and Kushner himself said he was "a lot more comfortable talking to you guys today ’cause there isn’t any press," Foreign Policy reported. However, the news outlet said that it obtained written notes from the conversation.
Kushner, who attended a meeting along with Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton, also spoke about security clearances and disclosures of meetings with foreign officials.
“Make sure you guys keep track of where you travel,” Kushner said, according to Foreign Policy. Kushner said he did not keep track because he did not expect to get into politics.
After news broke of Kushner and Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer, Congressional Democrats suggested possibly reviewing Kushner's national security clearance. In July, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.,the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN that Kushner forgot to disclose multiple meetings with Russian officials and that he later had to amend his disclosure forms.
Kushner told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had four contacts with Russians during the campaign and transition and that none of them were improper.
The conversation with interns also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Wired, which reported receiving leaked audio from the event.
"So, what do we offer that's unique? I don’t know," Kushner said, discussing the administration's approach to the conflict.
President Trump placed his son-in-law at the head of the White House's efforts to strike a peace deal between Israel and Palestine; in a New York Times interview just after the election in November, Trump said he thinks Kushner could broker peace between Israel and Palestine.
In his conversation with the interns, Kushner described the conflict as "a very emotionally charged situation," and said he has tried to understand why negotiations have failed in the past, according to Wired.
"Everyone finds an issue, that 'You have to understand what they did then' and 'You have to understand that they did this.' But how does that help us get peace? Let's not focus on that. We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation?" Kushner reportedly said.
Toward the end of Wired's transcript, Kushner concludes that "there may be no solution."
Later Tuesday, Wired released full audio of Kushner's talk.
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