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Trump's Son-in-Law Answers More Questions on Russia Contacts


White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, and his attorney Abbe Lowell, left, arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 25, 2017, to be questioned by the House Intelligence Committee.

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, faced questions for three hours in a closed-door interview Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation of Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.

There was no immediate word on Kushner's latest testimony, which came a day after he said that neither he nor anyone else he knew of in the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The leading Republican on the House panel, Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, said: "I found him to be straightforward, forthcoming, wanted to answer every question that we had and was willing to follow up on any questions that we think of later that we didn't get to ask this morning. And I thank him for his ... the way he conducted himself this morning in a very professional manner."

The top Democrat on the committee, Representative Adam Schiff of California, said the hearing was "very productive," and that he appreciated Kushner's "voluntary willingness to come and testify today."

Kushner spoke Monday to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a similar closed-door session, while also publicly denying that he or anyone else with the Trump campaign had any improper contacts with Russia leading up to or after the November 2016 vote.

"I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so," Kushner said at the White House in a brief statement after the meeting with the Senate investigators.

"I had no improper contacts," Kushner said. "I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses, and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information." He said that all of his "actions were proper, and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign."

WATCH: Kushner Delivers Statement After Senate Meeting

Trump used Twitter on Tuesday to express satisfaction with what Kushner said Monday.

Manafort also questioned

As part of the Russia probe, Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, met Tuesday with bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Manafort "answered their questions fully," said Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni.

Manafort is being scrutinized about his participation in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer from whom the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had been advised to expect incriminating material about Clinton.

FILE - Paul Manafort, then chairman of Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, July 17, 2016.
FILE - Paul Manafort, then chairman of Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, July 17, 2016.

Manafort gave the Senate panel his notes from the meeting, The Washington Post reported, citing a source familiar with the probe. That meeting has become a focal point for numerous investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, after the younger Trump said he would "love it" if there was material to damage Clinton's campaign.

In a written statement issued before his Monday appearance on Capitol Hill, Kushner confirmed that he, the younger Trump and Manafort met with a Russian lawyer and other figures tied to Moscow last June, but asserted he arrived late to the meeting and heard no discussions of the presidential campaign.

Trump Jr. and Manafort are also sharing information with another panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee. They were initially scheduled to appear before the committee this week, but that testimony has been postponed based on an understanding that the two men will provide the committee with records and other information.

Nevertheless, the Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Monday night to compel Manafort to testify after failing to "reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview" with the committee. A Judiciary Committee statement said Manafort agreed to provide only one transcribed interview to Congress, "which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff."

"While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort's request, ultimately that was not possible," the statement said.

Key events omitted

Kushner, in his statement Monday, made no mention of some key events that are pertinent to the Russia probe, including Trump's firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who was leading the agency's Russia probe before special counsel Robert Mueller, another former FBI director, took over.

Kushner's statement did not rule out the possibility of Russian election interference, which the U.S. intelligence community has concluded was directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rather, it asserted that Kushner himself had no interactions in or knowledge about plots from Moscow.

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    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

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