Kushner attorney fires back at Senate Judiciary Committee
The attorney for Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is pushing back against the Senate Judiciary Committee after the panel accused Kushner of not disclosing key documents.
In a letter Friday to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, attorney Abbe Lowell wrote that there were no “missing documents” as the committee has alleged, while criticizing the panel’s leaders for going to the media on Thursday with their accusations.
“I would have assumed that, if there were any questions about our productions or exchanges, that would have been communicated to me directly before you made this a media event,” Lowell wrote.
A day earlier, the Senate Judiciary Committee leaders sent Kushner a letter stating that their panel had not been provided documents about WikiLeaks, a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite,” and communications with Sergei Millian, who is president of the US-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce. The Washington Post reported in March that Millian could be a source in the Trump-Russia dossier.
The judiciary letter also raised concerns about Kushner’s security clearance documents and the committee transcripts of Kushner’s previous interviews with the Senate and House intelligence committees.
Lowell went point-by-point through the panel’s letter to argue that Kushner was being forthcoming with the documents that had been turned over.
He disputed the notion that there was a relevant “‘WikiLeaks’ document,” which refers to an email Kushner received and forwarded from Donald Trump Jr. about contact Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks. Kushner had told congressional Russia investigators he did not recall any campaign contacts with WikiLeaks, CNN reported on Friday.
“A communication in which he was a copied recipient and was not about Russia contacts by him (or apparently by anyone else) was not responsive to any request about Mr. Kushner’s own contacts,” Lowell wrote.
The Atlantic reported earlier this week that Trump Jr. had corresponded with WikiLeaks over Twitter during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump Jr. subsequently shared his messages with WikiLeaks on Twitter.
The same day he received the first Twitter direct message from WikiLeaks about an anti-Trump PAC, Trump Jr. emailed Kushner and other senior officials on the campaign telling them WikiLeaks had made contact, according to The Atlantic. Kushner forwarded that email to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who is now White House communications director.
Lowell’s letter also refers to the backdoor overture, noting merely that “various people are musing over a Kentucky NRA event and a religious organization’s desire for a visit by then-candidate Trump to their event occurring at the same time nearby.”
Lowell is referring to outreach on behalf of Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia’s central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CNN first reported in August about the outreach effort through a West Virginia man, a former contractor in Iraq, who proposed setting up a meeting with Russians and the Trump campaign last year to discuss their “shared Christian values.”
CBS News first reported Torshin’s role in the effort Friday, which was confirmed by CNN.
Lowell’s letter includes that Kushner’s response was to “pass on this.”
“A lot of people come claiming to carry messages. Few we are able to verify. For now I think we decline such meetings,” Kushner wrote, according to Lowell.
Lowell also writes that the Senate Judiciary Committee should ask the other committees for the transcripts of Kushner’s intelligence panel interviews, and ask the White House for any documents that exist after Trump was inaugurated, because Kushner does not have authorization to release them.
The letter suggests Kushner might turn over more information about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, with Lowell noting the Judiciary Committee clarified the types of records it was looking for related to Flynn.