- REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Jared Kushner said in a statement released Monday that he asked his assistant to call him so he could leave a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 at Trump Tower.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, released an 11-page statement detailing his contacts with Russians during and since Trump’s presidential campaign ahead of his closed-door appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday.
Trump Jr. invited Kushner, as well as Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort, to the June 2016 meeting with Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.
A series of emails released by Trump Jr. showed that the email subject line was “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential” and that the attendees were promised incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. Veselnitskaya did leave documents in Trump Jr.’s office, according to Akhmetshin, but it is unclear what information they contained.
In his statement, Kushner described the email thread as “a long back and forth that I did not read at the time,” and he said he did not recall the meeting until recently.
“I quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting,” Kushner wrote, “and that the meeting was a waste of our time.” Searching for “a polite way to leave and get back to my work,” Kushner said, he wrote his assistant an email roughly 10 minutes into the meeting: “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.”
Veselnitskaya, speaking with NBC News earlier this month, said Kushner was only in the meeting “for probably the first seven to 10 minutes.” She said he then left the room and did not return to the meeting.