Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in an interview that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who met with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, also met with advisers to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
“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,” Dmitry Peskov told CNN’s GPS host Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. “There are lots of specialists in politology, people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary.”
Peskov said it is the Russian ambassador’s job to talk “bilateral relations” with officials on both sides. He added that the meetings were in no way an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election.
“But there were no meetings about elections — electoral process … 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 said.
Peskov also said that Putin never supported Trump when he was a presidential candidate.
“You would probably recall that President Putin, during election campaign, had never answered directly a question about his candidate of his support. He kept saying that we will respect a choice of American people,” Peskov told Zakaria.
But Peskov did say Putin preferred Trump over Clinton, noting that the Russian president mentioned Trump’s name before. The spokesman claimed that Putin believed Hillary Clinton to have a more negative outlook on Russia than Trump.
“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.’”
The Russian ambassador had also made it a point to visit the Obama administration often. The ambassador visited Obama at the White House 22 times. The Obama administration also facilitated the meeting between the Russian ambassador and then-Senator Jeff Sessions.