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White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told a group of interns that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team couldn’t have colluded with Russia because they “couldn’t even collude with our local offices.”
A source at the private, off-the-record discussion on Monday before a group of congressional interns in Washington, DC, disclosed the comments to Foreign Policy.
Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, additionally told the interns that the administration didn’t know where the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election was going, according to the report.
Of his security clearance form, where he initially failed to report more than 100 contacts and which has since been updated multiple times, Kushner told the interns that “there are only two” pages “you guys have to worry about,” Foreign Policy reported.
“Make sure you guys keep track of where you travel,” he said.
The interns had been told not to leak the comments to the media, and Kushner said he was “a lot more comfortable talking to you guys today ’cause there isn’t any press,” according to Foreign Policy.
Just ahead of Kushner’s talk, Katie Patru, a top congressional staffer, told the assembled interns, “To record today’s session would be such a breach of trust, from my opinion,” Wired reported.
“This town is full of leakers, and everyone knows who they are, and no one trusts them,” she continued. “In this business, your reputation is everything. I’ve been on the Hill for 15 years. I’ve sat in countless meetings with members of Congress where important decisions were being made. During all those years in all those meetings, I never once leaked to a reporter … If someone in your office has asked you to break our protocol and give you a recording so they can leak it, as a manager, that bothers me at my core.”
Kushner discussed some of the administration’s objectives in the Middle East, according to a recording Wired obtained of Kushner’s talk, which it said lasted roughly an hour.
Speaking about recent tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, Kushner, whom Trump has tasked with creating a peace deal, questioned what the US could uniquely offer in finding such an agreement.
“I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again, we’re trying to follow very logically,” Kushner said. “We’re thinking about what the right end state is. And we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”
Listen to Wired’s audio: