President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has denied reports that he suggested a communications back channel between the Trump campaign and a Russian ambassador.
Kushner, who is married to the president's daughter Ivanka, and one of his most senior advisers, said at the White House after a session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday (24 July) that he had been "fully transparent" in providing requested information.
"Let me be very clear - I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts," he said.
Earlier, in an opening statement provided to Senate and House intelligence committees, he denied colluding with "any foreign government".
"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," he said in the 11-page statement.
He disputed a Reuters report, which claimed that he held two phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak between April and November 2016, saying that he had no recollection of those calls and that a review of both his landline and mobile phone records "does not reveal those calls".
Amid intense scrutiny of the ties between Trump's inner circle and the Kremlin, Kushner said he had "hardly any" contact with Russian representatives, adding he had "perhaps four contacts" both during the campaign and after. He addressed the controversy surrounding his security clearance form which did not disclose his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
"My SF-86 application was prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not list any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government officials," he said.
In the statement, Kushner claimed to be unaware of the email exchange between Donald Trump Jr. and publicist Rob Goldstone setting up the meeting at Trump Tower last summer.
In one email, Goldstone told the president's son that Veslenitskaya was willing to share "information about illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Convention" with the Trump campaign.
Kushner admitted attending the meeting along with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, but said it was such a "waste of time" that he asked his assistant to call him out early.
"I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for 10 or so minutes and wrote 'Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting'," he said.
He will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday and before the House on Tuesday.