Kushner Lawyer On Bipartisan Ask For Missing Docs: ‘Partisan Gotcha Game’

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

A lawyer for White House adviser Jared Kushner on Sunday defended his client against a bipartisan letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee that claimed Kushner had failed to turn over documents relevant to their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“In my communications with the Senate Judiciary Committee, I said, take these documents and let’s talk about what else is relevant,” the attorney, Abbe Lowell, told CNN. “They jumped the gun to make it a media event.”

On Thursday, Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote to Lowell regarding his turning over of a collection of documents that “appears to have been incomplete.”

Grassley and Feinstein outlined missing September 2016 emails to Kushner about Wikileaks, an email forwarded to Kushner about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” and communications with Sergei Millian, the president of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce, on which Kushner is copied.

The Atlantic recently revealed that Donald Trump Jr. was in communication with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign.

Lowell acknowledged Friday, responding to the committee’s letter, that in one email message to Kushner, “there is a reference to one of these people suggesting an idea that somewhere, sometime (before the words ‘Russia’ or ‘Putin’ were politically charged or relevant in the campaign), someone thought candidate Trump should visit Russia.”

But, Lowell claimed Friday and again Sunday, that Kushner responded by saying the campaign should “pass” on such a meeting.

“[I]f you look at the content of these emails, he’s the hero,” Lowell said of Kushner Sunday. “He’s the one who’s saying there shouldn’t be any contacts with foreign officials or foreign entities. That’s what the Senate Judiciary Committee should pay attention to and not create some sort of partisan gotcha game.”

Lowell said separately: “The committee investigations, unfortunately, are devolving into political gotcha games. If committees selectively leak parts of interviews, or send me letters through the media, or turn Jared Kushner’s very clear email that there should be no contacts with anybody in a foreign country into what they call is a missing document, then they are undermining their own credibility.”

CNN’s Evan Perez, who conducted the interview with Lowell Sunday, noted that the attorney did not promise that Kushner would do an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, nor did he promise to hand over any more specific documents.

The Judiciary Committee’s letter Thursday also requested that Kushner fulfill requests for his security clearance application documents, which he has amended multiple times to reflect previously undisclosed meetings with Russian nationals, as well as documents concerning his communications with ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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