Ex-Russian diplomat downplays Flynn contact, denies election meddling

Aaron Brown
August 6, 2017

Former Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, a figure at the center of the federal Russia probe, on Saturday defended his past conversations with former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The Washington Post has reported that Kislyak was overheard by US spy agencies telling his bosses he had discussed campaign-related matters, including issues important to Moscow, with now Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race. President Trump has said he asked Flynn to resign because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts Russian officials.

"We only spoke about the most simple things ... but the communication was completely correct, calm, absolutely transparent. In any case, there were no secrets on our side", Kislyak said during a panel discussion on Russian television. There are a few themes important for cooperation of Russian Federation and the United States. "This was one of the topic we discussed. There were no secrets, at least on our part". He added he was sure that what they talked about was well known to "many other people in America".

Russia's decision came as response to U.S. expelling 35 Russian diplomats in December 2016, as well as banning access for Russia to two of its diplomatic compounds. "It's partially their problem", Kislyak said.

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When pressed about the talks' contents, Kislyak said: "I didn't come here to testify".

He said that the meetings with Flynn (above picture) during the 2016 presidential campaign of now-US President Donald Trump, were focused on US-Russian cooperation.

The newspaper cited current and former USA officials who said intelligence agencies monitored subsequent conversations between Mr Kislyak and his superiors in Russian Federation about the meetings with Mr Sessions.

"Any diplomat, Russian or not, works to better understand the policy of a country he's posted to, figure out what the new administration's course is and understand where cooperation is possible", Kislyak said.The former Russian Ambassador to the USA fired back at his critics on Saturday stating there was nothing unusual about his contacts with members of President Donald Trump's campaign. He also reiterated Russia's denial of election meddling, a claim widely-backed by the US intelligence community.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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