Jared Kushner, White House senior adviser and son-in-law to President Trump, told congressional Russia investigators that he could not recall anyone from the Trump campaign who had been in contact with WikiLeaks and that he himself had not been communicating with WikiLeaks.
However, Kushner received and forwarded an email from Donald Trump Jr. about his communications with WikiLeaks, CNN reported Friday. The exact contents of Trump Jr.’s email to Kushner have not been reported.
Trump Jr. confirmed Monday that he communicated with the WikiLeaks Twitter account during the 2016 election, in response to a report from the Atlantic that he was in contact with WikiLeaks during 2016 election by posting screenshots of the communications on his Twitter page.
But during private congressional testimony in July, Kushner replied that he did not have any contacts with WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange. He also said he was unaware of anyone who had communicated with WikiLeaks during the campaign.
But a source told CNN that Kushner had correctly answered the questions about his communications and didn’t remember anyone in the campaign who had communicated with WikiLeaks.
Kushner’s attorney provided a statement to CNN and said the committee had asked “a classic gotcha” question.
"Mr. Kushner was asked if he had contacts with Wikileaks, Guccifer or DC Leaks and said no. He also said he did not know of such contacts by the campaign,” Abbe Lowell said. “From all I have now seen, his statement was accurate then as it is now. In over 6 hours of voluntary testimony, Mr. Kushner answered all questions put to him and demonstrated that there had been no collusion between the campaign and Russia."
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee leaders said in a letter that Kushner had not provided certain documents pertaining to a variety of issues, including WikiLeaks.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in the letter documents provided by others exhibiting “September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, which Mr. Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official.”
WikiLeaks contacted Trump Jr. for the first time in Sept. 2016 and continued reaching out until at least July 2017, the Atlantic reported on Monday and Trump Jr. later confirmed. WikiLeaks, which has leaked information such as stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, first reached out to Trump regarding an anti-Trump site.
Although the correspondence was primarily one-sided, it shows WikiLeaks actively sought help from Trump Jr. The organization made requests concerning President Trump’s tax returns, urged the Trump campaign to say the election results had been rigged if Trump had lost, and asked that then-President-elect Trump advise Australia to appoint WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as ambassador to the U.S.
The messages have been given to Congress as several committees are investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Muller is also investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.