Jared Kushner, son-in-law and close adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, says he did not collude with any foreign governments or have any improper contacts.
Kushner released a statement Monday ahead of appearing for closed-door questioning before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and another planned session Tuesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee, as they examine Russia’s meddling in last year’s U.S. election.
“The record and documents I am providing will show that I had perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives out of thousands during the campaign and transition, none of which were impactful in any way to the election or particularly memorable,” Kushner wrote.
He further described several brief meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., saying they discussed a desire to improve U.S.-Russia relations, but he denied media reports that he and Sergey Kislyak had further conversations by phone.
The congressional committees are expected to seek information about Kushner’s Russia contacts, including a meeting last June with a Russian attorney and other figures connected to Moscow.
That meeting has been the focus of great attention since the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, released emails expressing eagerness for what he believed the Russian attorney would provide: harmful material about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 election opponent.
WATCH: Senate Panel to Question Trump’s Son-in-Law on Russia
Trump Jr. and campaign manager Paul Manafort who also attended the meeting, were initially scheduled to appear this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But that testimony has been postponed based on an understanding that the two men will provide the committee with records and information.
Kushner said in his statement that while he was in the meeting there was no discussion of the election campaign, and that he “quickly determined that my time was not well-spent in this meeting.”
With the Russia probe now scrutinizing those closest to Trump, questions have arisen about possible presidential pardons. Trump’s legal team noted the Constitution grants the president broad pardoning powers, but insisted that nothing is being contemplated.
“We’re not researching the issue because the issue of pardons is not on the table,” the president’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said on ABC’s “This Week program.” “There’s nothing to pardon from.”
At the same time, the White House insisted the news media’s focus on the Russia probe is misguided.
“The top three issues that Americans care about are immigration, health care, and jobs,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also on “This Week.” “The top three issues that the media cares about are Russia, Russia, and Russia.”
Lawmakers of both political parties are also having their say. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, took to Twitter to urge full disclosure of a leaked U.S. intelligence intercept of Russia’s ambassador relaying to Moscow an account of an alleged conversation with then-senator Jeff Sessions, a Trump campaign backer and current attorney general.
Meanwhile, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner has slammed any preemptive presidential pardons of those under investigation in the Russia probe.