In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian ambassador to the U.S. didn’t just meet with Jeff Sessions and other members of the Donald Trump campaign team. Peskov said that Ambassador Sergey Kislyak also held meetings with people close to the Hillary Clinton team as well.
“Well, if you look at some people connected with Hillary Clinton during her campaign, you would probably see that he had lots of meetings of that kind,” Peskov said. “There are lots of specialists in politology, people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary.”
Peskov said there was nothing suspicious or wrong about the diplomat holding talks that would improve “bilateral relations” between the U.S. and Russia and that the meetings had nothing to do with Vladimir Putin trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
“There were no meetings about elections,” he said. “So if you look at it with intention to demonize Russia, you would probably say that, yes, he was trying to interfere in Hillary’s activities. But it would be nonsense, because this is not true.”
Peskov noted that Putin did not come out publicly in favor of one candidate or another.
“You would probably recall that President Putin, during election campaign, had never answered directly a question about his candidate of his support,” he said. “He kept saying that we will respect a choice of American people.”
However, Peskov admitted that Putin was not exactly neutral in his private preferences.
“The candidate Hillary Clinton was quite negative about our country in her attitude and in her program, declaring Russia being nearly the main evil in the world and the main threat for the United States,” Peskov said.
“And to the contrary, the other candidate, Donald Trump, was saying that, ‘Yes, we disagree with the Russians in lots of issues, but we have to talk to them in order to try to find some understanding.’ Whom would you like better? The one who says that Russia is evil or the one who says that, ‘Yes, we disagree, but let’s talk to understand and to try to find some points of agreement?’” he explained.
Peskov’s interview comes as Democrats are pushing hard for a thorough congressional investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian government officials.
Were there any contacts that were inappropriate? Perhaps. Time will tell.
But so far, we’ve seen nothing that indicates that any Trump official crossed the line. There’s nothing wrong with the Republican nominee for president holding talks with representatives from the international community, and none of this would have been an issue had it not been for the DNC hacks. It’s time to pony up some evidence or move on.