Transcript for Kushner denies collusion with Russia
On the Abbas live in New York continuing coverage now is Jared Kushner is the first member of the trump family. To be questioned in relation to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has concluded his trip to Capitol Hill giving a statement right there. Outside of the White House. Let's break down what we know so far we could expect to see in the weeks ahead now Mary Alice parks joins us live from the Washington DC bureau. Mary Alice is we heard wrench in their by some of our colleagues this is not a man we hear from offing if he shared a few words there making a very. Very strong point to say I did not collude I have never used Russian banks to finance my businesses and I have never. Done anything improper at that the ends of the questions we think for Jared Kushner. Probably not you know he'll be back on Capitol Hill tomorrow talking to staff on the house side House Intelligence Committee. But there are several other committees investigating the Russian meddling as well Judiciary Committee in the senate. That wants sort of a crack at all of these top political players to. I think it is highly likely that commissioner we'll have to face more questions investigators. And and at investigators it DO JA ME don't forget the special counsel has extreme reach in this area and can call Kushner to testify as well. Let me ask you about the risks and is something a lot of people are wondering about the the closed door session. Rightly have been a lot of calls for and when involved in these kind investigations to appear before an open comedian doping hearing. Do we know why it was closed and do we know what exactly went on behind those closed doors. Well we know many now. Staff who not the senators themselves staffed ahead and working really close and this investigation obviously staff does a lot of that the behind the scenes work on big projects on Capitol Hill senators can't be. Everywhere all the time reading every page every document. I'm it. And why was behind closed doors you know that's really interesting I think as it's it's seen as a first stat right these committees are trying to work. With these principles are asking for documents are not the Penang in the at they're asking for. I'm and respond to questions at interviews not yet testify under a look. They're seen as as a prop up a process hoping that these witnesses will be clobbered and as long as they are they can have a working relationship with investigators. But we've seen these lawmakers. That it for some reason. These members of the White House team to campaign he'll former campaign advisors starts and not cooperate start to not respond. Don't answer questions then lawmakers said they will subpoena they will absolutely. Make sure that they come and that we're talking about a much different game I'm swearing someone in hatter Alice making it public turning to cameras on. So this is an early stage but again more indication that there's more com. Hey let's talk to Jon Karl now IBC's chief White House correspondent joins us live. From the White House John what we're hearing from the White House about mr. questioners testimony rein in perspective when you look at the big overall investigation. From Jerry pressure to the president is one of the shortest and straight as Heinz you can draw in terms of relationships in the west wing what are we hearing from them today. Lots lingual I think you heard the message from Jericho assured that they they keep part of that message beyond his app salute in attic denial. Of taking part any collusion with the Russians or knowing of any collusion would anybody else on that campaign. Was the very firm statement from Jared Kushner. They it's that the president's victory in the election was legitimate reason why that's important news. This whole investigation is seen by the president of the United States as an effort to undermine his election victory over Hillary Clinton. That's why you hear him so angrily. Did you know call the sea witch hunt and denounce those asking the questions here so that it was significant to you heard that from cared Kosher wasn't particularly. A relevant. Two to what happened today in terms of the actual testimony because. I had this note nobody has suggested it that the election victory is somehow illegitimate it's a question of whether or not the in the meddling in the election the Russians whether they had any collusion would anybody on the on the trauma team nobody has suggested they'd. Russian meddling was decisive in this election but he pushed very push back against that I think primarily. Because that is the way the presidency is this easy this entire thing not just as it which on. But as an attempt to undermine his election victory. That's right John if her that again and again that reference to witch hunt on Twitter thanks for joining us along with that to talk to you John Carlin the White House. But had now over to Capitol Hill ABC's congressional correspondent Mary Bruce was outside the room in which mr. Kushner with taking. Those questions and Mary it's not just business is usual there on the hill we're talking about members of that presidents. Family himself appearing there would be hearing about what's how people are processing those questions an end and that the answers he gave today. It's the first time back and a member of the from family with up here facing congressional investigators the the first time they had a chance to ask a member of the family. And at their questions about any possible ties to Russia Annie possible connections during the campaign and this of the press from unlike we've ever seen this is not a normal. Business as usual day appear on Capitol Hill as you mentioned but. Reverend this all happened behind closed doors that we don't know what questions Grassley don't know what answers were give and we do you know. The Jericho mr. spent over two and a half hours here with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee know. None of the actual senators on this committee were present these were there high level staff members and that's also an indication of the fact that while this is your commissioners first appearance here on the hill this is. Probably not likely his last appearance before this committee he will be back up here tomorrow over on the house side. But already you're seeing members of this committee of the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats in particular calling for crushed her to come back up. Before this committee to appear in public. Under oath to the EU the American public can hear his responses to so many of their question. Primary we heard mr. Christie say there he's going to be back there he mentioned to talk to members of the house and to promise full transparency and cooperation moving forward. To probably not the last time we hear from him I think to you neighbors on capitol Al. Mary Alice parks it brings us back to the bigger question there's a promise of transparency here there is a pledge to continue to cooperate. How does this move forward now what is the next step for someone like Jerry Christian when we know with these questions are going to continue. In I thought it was interesting Mary talked about some of the responses that are coming in already from Democrats. Ron white and senator on the committee status statement saying that Jared Kushner has not been forthcoming in. So far he had to revise his security clearance forms and some of his ethics boards so why in the world should lawmakers taken at his word. Now why should they take that opening statement as. Full statement of all the truth at all the facts so a lot of skepticism. From Democrats. And religious continue to see I think those level that level of questioning constant constant questioning and tell lawmakers and an investigators at DOJ feel satisfied. Out of that the that they are really investigated what Russia was capable of doing and did do. In the election you know giving that really struck me. About his opening statement those prepared remarks that they released this morning was how much your commissioner was talking about himself. When he was gonna go speak to these staff members he was not speaking it seemed. As a member of this White House team or even as Stanley it was a lot of me what I did what I know. Largely throwing a lot of other people sort of under the buzz placing blame. So you cut the sense of a real. Defensive man who's worked very closely with his lawyers to craft a statement to make sure that he is in the clear. And that idea that mindset that everyone in that team is sort of looking out for themselves. That means that they might have a lot more press and stance or four. Out on the talk about that statement alone that Larkin is getting a little crowded under that bus let me come back to you. In just the second because I wanna put them at this into context and larger investigation but now let's bring in our colleague Pierre Thomas ABC's Chief Justice correspondent. Here help us understand a little bit about how the question and answer session today behind closed doors by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. Fit into the larger picture of the ongoing investigations here. So the the big question obviously is did members of the trump campaign collude with the Russians. And there are a number of meetings that. Pushed her head as it now it's happening. With election officials with the question then Russian ambassador to states Kasey with the Russian banker. And he was a part of that now infamous meeting if you will. In which Don junior talks on junior convened at trump tower to speak with a question attorney and others from Russia. And again the premise of the meeting according to a document released to the press. Is that the meeting was about dirt on Hillary Clinton and candidate Hillary Clinton. That the Russians allegedly we're going provide. As a part of their effort to help. Then candidate Donald fox. So. That's that though the backdrop of all of this and the special counsel's office is looking into all of it. And statement notwithstanding today appears not withstanding. On Capitol Hill. The special prosecutor is going to look at every aspect of this. Is going to look at for example who knew about the emails before the meeting who else beyond entered Kushner we have communicated about those emails so. That is all going to be investigated and what you're seeing is in terms of the statement that the appearance is that everyone who's involved. Who's had some kind of contact with the Russians are gonna have their day with a special counsel is going look at what they did an agreement to speak for themselves. Here I think the other thing people are wondering I don't know if we know the answer to this but what ever comments from today's meeting whether there are notes or a transcript or whatever. Could act he made part of the special counsel's investigation would Bob Mueller and his team have access to this as well. Oh absolutely I mean they will get information. From the senate staff people. One with think have a pretty good working relationship. They want to know. Everything that was asked and answered. To compare. Four. The point when from which they me interview him also of these the statement. Which is now the release the press that now goes into the investigative koppers if you look to be examined so from this point forward. Everything that has been said will be scrutinized looked at and they're doing investigations. Surrounding his. His comments looking at other people from what the facts. Can't comment on forests in DC thank you pero look at the top. Mary Alice let's talk about that statement now because there were a couple of things worth pointing out. Here at this point every went to abcnews.com we have the statement upn full if you wanna read all eleven pages of it. But every two questions going into this Mary Alice won it two among many others one about the Tony sickened in 2016 meeting we've heard so much about that Donald Trump junior sat up and that being with erection attorney with ties to the Kremlin. And many others and the second issue is about the disclosures on the security clearance. Application form and on both the ballot that you hinted earlier he sort of blames other people when it comes to the meeting mr. Kushner sat look. Junior sat at up I didn't even read all my emails all the way through and then I left that meeting as soon as I realized it wasn't worth my time. And on the security clearance debates this as of my assistants fault she submitted it to early. It's not a viable defense is this sort of organist continue to see in in the way of explanation. Well that's exactly what investigators will have to decide is not a Bible defense he works really hard to watch it hands event like he sent there it's. Very little if any personal responsibility take it and it's interesting when he left out. You know he does not seem to be bothered at all and defending his brother in law he does not say at the president has that. Anyone would have taken that meeting or not it was appropriate for his brother a lot to cited up. In that he's anti didn't read the hole in nine exchange in mind that it had. Maybe he would have made a different decision. And then your right with the security clearance forms as well he continues to play in this this car paint this picture that he is political not Nancy's new at a big game. He doesn't understand exactly how things work is assistant made a mistake. Doing a lot to put pressure often in south. To clear his name. But remember it's such a political novice and you can ask why the president trusted him with sol might mean this is a senior White House advisor. With a huge sweeping portfolio. So it's hard to sort of square that circle that he could both be so many of but also has such a big role in this campaign and this White House. It's gonna be inching to see how that defense continues. To play out whether it continues to have credibility he lifts his head back over to Capitol Hill for just a sack in our colleague Armando Garcia has been outside that hearing room. Where most mr. Kushner was taking questions. Earlier today and Armando we talked to Barry Bruce a little bit ago she's talking about some of that some of the sights and sounds there how it's not really. Business as normal but mr. Christian now lacked give us the latest what's it like there right now. Long I gotta tell ya with staking out right there right in front of the hearing room. And I can say that it was very very quiet out here in fact there was a little bit of a comic relief once Kushner came in through those doors down there today because. He quickly ducked out of their way of the camera actually so we were all stake out their for many many hours and waiting for him to appear. And he was maybe in front of the camera for about. 510 seconds. Yet we're seeing tape from that earlier today of course those cameras staking out. Mr. Kushner is arrival and his departure at arm and it could you get a sense from anyone there. How you how you describe him as he relaxed in his demeanor was he saying anything to the reporter this is the man as we talked about. Who doesn't really like the attention. I'm he was actually very relaxed but what did kind of stir the pot a little bit was a protestor that. Waived the Russian flag right in front of and asked them to sign it so that actually got a lot of photographs and a lot of reporters kind of surrounding this guy. Arm under price the alive for a on Capitol Hill thanks Armando. And Mary Alice parks before I let you go let's put this whole day in the context a little bit here we know that Donald Trump junior and Paul man affords. I'm mr. Trump's former campaign manager will face some questions as well we know that mr. Kushner as he fed is gonna talk of the House Intelligence Committee as well. How does this White House continue on a unit fried front this passing out that everybody is lawyering up. Right and this is the biggest story in DC for two reasons one because it is a public reminder of just how far these investigations have gone. Not only eat into the walls of the White House and the west wing but into child's own family. But it's also the second thing is headlined the biggest headline. In DC today because there's really nothing else happening on capital health you know word they want so badly to pass something on health care. Republicans trying so hard to get something Diane. And yet by all accounts they are absolutely deadlocked both sides of that conference not giving and so as much as this White House is asking for there to be at hit it. To his agenda to legislation and policy there is frankly just not that much on that frank to discuss. And so it is. Hard for the White House to get out from under this cloud unless they managed to get something Alison Don and everyone I capital Ellis really feeling today. We'll have to wait and see what happens on that and Mary Alice park live for us and Washington DCL with its thoughts and around thanks. Exxon. Thanks to all of you for watching as well remember you can all the good abcnews.com. At any time for continuing coverage. Of this story and many others for now I'm on an Abbas in a few actresses.
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