Trump's team of evangelical leaders defend Kushner

Ten evangelical leaders issued statements of support for President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, many of them lauding his character and dismissing stories of his alleged ties to Russia on the eve of his closed-door testimony Monday before Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials.

Evangelical leaders often issue statements about policy issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and religious freedom, but they don't often comment on specific administration officials. The leaders who sent statements come mostly from those who were on Trump's evangelical advisory council, which operated during the campaign and is no longer official but whose members still stay in touch.

The group praising Kushner included Southern Baptist pastors David Jeremiah, Robert Jeffress, Ronnie Floyd and Jack Graham; Maryland pastor Harry Jackson; Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.; former Liberty chaplain Johnnie Moore; Florida megachurch pastor Paula White; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

"I deplore that politics in this country has descended into blood-sport wherein good people like the Kushners, in order to serve the country they love, must endure unfounded attacks on their character, honesty, and trustworthiness," wrote Wood, who added that he had dinner with Kushner and Ivanka Trump several weeks ago.

Rodriguez wrote that Kushner has been "a great gift" to evangelicals. "We have always found him to be 'an ever-present help in time of need,' " Rodriguez wrote, a reference to Psalm 46, which refers to God as an ever-present help in time of need.

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