Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner argued Tuesday the investigations over whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign have been “way more harmful” than Russia’s election meddling through social media.
“When you look at what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads and trying to sow dissent, it’s a terrible thing,” Kushner said at the Time 100 Summit in New York. “But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple Facebook ads.”
Kushner, the president’s son-in-law who worked on the campaign, said he spent much more money in 2016 on Facebook ads than the Russians.
“I think they said they spent $160,000,” Kushner said. “I spent $160,000 on Facebook every three hours during the campaign. If you look at the magnitude of what they did, the ensuing investigations have been way more harmful.”
Kushner, who doesn’t speak in public very often, made the comments in the wake of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report saying investigators found no evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in election meddling.
“When the whole notion of the Russian collusion narrative came up, I was the first person to say I’m happy to participate with any investigations,” Kushner said. “I thought the whole thing was kind of nonsense to be honest with you.”
Kushner said he sat for three interviews with the House of Representatives. He said he also interviewed for nine hours with Mueller’s team. Referencing his past statements, Kushner said, “I think everything I’ve said has now been proven to be true. And it’s been very, very thoroughly investigated.”
He referenced the infamous meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 between several Trump campaign associates and a Russian lawyer, recalling wanting to leave meeting because it seemed like a waste of time. Mueller’s team investigated the meeting, but did not conclude it was evidence of coordination.
“It’s a meeting had it never come up…I would have never thought about it again,” Kushner said. “But now the media spends so much time focusing on it. And quite frankly, the whole thing is just a big distraction for the whole country.”