World in Brief: No Russia collusion, Trump son-in-law Kushner tells Congress

No Russia collusion, Trump son-in-law Kushner tells Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump’s White House bid and declared he has “nothing to hide.”

Behind closed doors, Kushner spoke to staff members of the Senate intelligence committee for nearly three hours at the Capitol, then made a brief public statement back at the White House.

“Let me be very clear,” he said. “I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.”

Kushner left without taking questions. In an 11-page statement, released hours before the Capitol session, he detailed four contacts with Russians during Trump’s campaign and transition. It aimed to explain inconsistencies and omissions in a security clearance form that have invited public scrutiny.

In the statement, Kushner said that none of his contacts, which included meetings at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador and a Russian lawyer, was improper.

Immigrants wept, pleaded for water and pounded on the truck

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The tractor-trailer was pitch-black inside, crammed with maybe 90 immigrants or more, and already hot when it left the Texas border town of Laredo for the 150-mile trip north to San Antonio.

It wasn’t long before the passengers, sweating profusely in the rising oven-like heat, started crying and pleading for water. Children whimpered. People took turns breathing through a single hole in the wall. They pounded on the sides of the truck and yelled to try to get the driver’s attention. Then they began passing out.

By the time the driver stopped at a Walmart in San Antonio around midnight Sunday and opened the door, as many as eight passengers were dead and two more would soon die in an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone tragically awry.

The details of the journey were recounted Monday by a survivor who spoke to The Associated Press and in a federal criminal complaint against the driver, James Matthew Bradley, who could face the death penalty over the 10 lives lost.

“After an hour I heard ... people crying and asking for water. I, too, was sweating and people were despairing. That’s when I lost consciousness,” 27-year-old Adan Lalravega told the AP from his hospital bed.

Iowa firm tied to truck deaths has history of legal problems

SCHALLER, Iowa (AP) — The small, family-owned Iowa trucking company linked to the deadly case of immigrant smuggling in Texas has a history of safety and tax violations and financial problems, public records show.

Pyle Transportation Inc. failed to pay federal employment and trucking taxes for years, faced lawsuits from Iowa labor regulators over unpaid wages owed to drivers and has been ordered to pay major penalties for violations of federal safety rules, records show. The IRS and others who say the company owes them money have often found no assets available to garnish.

The company and its driver insist they know nothing about how dozens of immigrants became packed inside the trailer of its 18-wheeler, which was found parked in the searing heat outside a San Antonio Walmart over the weekend. Ten of those passengers died and more than 15 others were hospitalized with extreme dehydration, with one passenger telling investigators people were taking turns breathing from a hole inside the trailer.

Pyle Transportation owner Brian Pyle denied knowledge of any human smuggling and expressed shock and bewilderment over how so many people could have been crammed into a trailer that had his name on it.

“I’m absolutely sorry it happened. I really am. It’s shocking,” Pyle said outside the company’s ramshackle office near the tiny downtown of Schaller, Iowa, a village of 750 in the rural northwestern part of the state.

Trump says upcoming health vote is GOP’s chance to keep vow

WASHINGTON (AP) — A peeved President Donald Trump browbeat Republican opponents of his party’s reeling health care bill Monday, asserting that his predecessor’s signature overhaul has meant “death” and saying the Senate’s planned faceoff vote is their chance to keep their pledge to repeal it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’d call a pivotal vote Tuesday on beginning debate on the legislation, a roll call that seemed likely to go badly for the GOP.