Russian Embassy brushes aside Sessions contact allegation
The Russian Embassy in Washington said it would not comment on alleged contacts between Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, adding that the embassy staff has “multiple contacts” with locals every day.
The remark comes in response to the uproar in the US over a report in the Washington Post claiming that Sessions spoke to Kislyak twice last year. If true, this would contradict his statements during confirmation hearings in the US Senate.
“The embassy doesn’t comment on numerous contacts with local partners, which occur on a daily basis in line with diplomatic practice,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement.
The Washington Post report prompted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to demand Sessions’ resignation for “lying under oath” during the hearings.
Sessions is the second official in the Trump camp to face losing his office over contacts with Russian officials after former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn stepped down after being accused by the media of discussing sanctions on Russia with Kislyak. Both he and the Russian Embassy denied the discussion ever happened.
The Kremlin, in the meantime, ruled out any possibility that contacts between Sessions and the Russian embassy could have taken place. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said on Thursday he is unaware of any such talks between Sessions and Kislyak, adding that establishing working contacts with host nation’s executive and legislative branches is an inherent part of an ambassador’s job.
“The more such meetings are being held by an ambassador, the more efficient he is. And this applies to every ambassador,” Peskov stressed, adding the US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft “has plenty of contacts with Russian MPs and it is quite normal.”
He also denounced the CNN report that referred to ambassador Kislyak as “one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters,” urging the public not to react to “these de-personalized media allegations.”