(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told Congress on Wednesday that she has not talked to President Donald Trump about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
“I have not talked to the president about that,” Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“It’s not something that’s on my radar,” she said. “I don’t get asked about any of those things at the United Nations. So I am very focused on my work in New York, and that has never come up once.”
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) asked Haley if she’s ever spoken to her Russian counterparts at the United Nations about the meddling:
“I mean, what would you want me to say to them?” Haley asked Connolly. “I’m at the U.N. We’re working on international issues,” Haley said. “I have made it public that I think — I do believe they interfered with our elections. I’ve also said we can’t have any country interfere in our elections, and I stand by that.”
“Have you received any instructions at all with respect to their meddling in our elections, like ‘don’t talk about that,’ Ambassador Haley?” Connolly asked her.
“It hasn’t come up,” Haley responded.
“It’s never come up?” Connolly repeated. “No, I’m talking about from Washington. Have you received instructions from the State Department, ‘don’t talk about that’?”
“No,” Haley replied.
“Any instructions at all about it?” Connolly persisted.
“None,” Haley said. “I have said what I’ve said. I’ve been on the record, and no one has said, you’re out of line. No one has said, don’t do anything. I mean, what I appreciate is this administration does not tell me what to say or what not to say. They allow me to say what I think, and they support me through that.”
Earlier, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) told Haley he was stunned to learn that she has not spoken to President Trump about Russian interference:
“And the biggest question that we’ve had, recently, is Russia’s involvement in what they’ve done to our democracy, and for your to not to have had a conversation with the President of the United States about that involvement is absolutely shocking to me,” Meeks said.
Haley told Meeks, “First of all, with Russia, my conversations with the president are very much — you’ve seen me bash Russia on Ukraine, you’ve seen me bash Russia on Syria, you’ve seen me call out Russia if we see any sort of wrong doings by Russia, and yes, I do think Russia meddled in our elections, and yes, I have said that to the president.
“So having said that, I haven’t asked the President any further questions, because I just — it’s not something that’s on my radar. I don’t get asked about any of those things at the United Nations. So I am very focused on my work in New York, and that has never come up once.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) noted that Russia is a “flawed country,” but he also said the United States should be “making overtures” to see if Russian can help the U.S. bring peace to the Middle East, especially Syria.
“So let’s hope that we can try to establish a more positive relationship with Russia that will help bring peace to that part of the world and help all of us,” Rohrabacher said.
Haley told Rohrabaher she agrees with him: “General Mattis continues to work with Russia, because we do need to work with them on Syria, and we can work with them on counterterrorism.
“And so we’re trying to find the places where we can work with them, but we’re going to call them out in places that we have to,” Haley said.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) called the Democrats’ focus on Russian interference “political theater.”
“Just want to remind everybody about the FDR administration: Alger Hiss, John Service, Harry Hopkins, who served at the very highest levels of government and what seems to be the left’s continued being enamored with Russia, Cuba, Che Guevara, et cetera.
“From FDR to the previous president’s statements to then-President Medvedev — and I just got a newsflash for everybody: Russia, communists, the socialists have always meddled in America, have always targeted us and — and they’re going to continue to do that. So welcome to the fight.”