NEW YORK (AFP) - Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, said on Tuesday (April 23) that Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference was worse than anything done by Moscow, which he dismissed as "a couple of Facebook ads."
In a rare public speaking appearance, Kushner dismissed Russia's impact during the 2016 election, saying that credit for the victory lay with the Trump campaign.
"You look at what Russia did - you know, buying some Facebook ads to try and sow dissent and do it. It's a terrible thing," Kushner told a forum in New York of Time magazine.
"But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads," he said.
Mueller's 400-plus-page report - released to the public last week after the probe haunted Trump since the start of his presidency - confirmed that Russian operatives tried to help Trump defeat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, including by hacking into email accounts.
The probe found that Trump's campaign took advantage of the impact on Clinton but did not deliberately reach out to collude with the Russians.
Several Democrats, notably presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren, have called for Trump to be impeached for welcoming a hostile power's help and for allegedly obstructing the investigation after the election.
But Kushner said that he had fully cooperated with Mueller's probe, which found that he had passed along a proposal from Kremlin-linked figures after the election on how to reconcile with Russia.
Trump during the campaign publicly hailed the site WikiLeaks for releasing hacked emails related to Clinton, but more recently has said he knew nothing about it.
"In the campaign, we didn't know that Russia was doing what they were doing," Kushner said.
Trump was apparently pleased by his son-in-law's answers, tweeting that he had a "great interview" with Time.