Presidential

Report surfaces of Trump reception that included Kislyak

John Roberts reports from the White House

 

The hype over possible contacts between President Trump's campaign and Russian officials went into overdrive Tuesday after liberal blogs seized on a months-old report describing an encounter between Trump and Moscow's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

The May 13, 2016 report by the Wall Street Journal described how then-candidate Trump came across Kislyak at a VIP reception moments before Trump made a major foreign policy speech at Washington's Mayflower Hotel. The Journal said that Trump "warmly greeted" Kislyak and three other ambassadors who came to the reception.

The report was resurrected Tuesday by websites such as ThinkProgress and Daily Kos, which published stories implying Trump lied when he said last month that "nobody that I know of" on his campaign staff contacted Russian officials during the presidential race.

Revelations about conversations between Kislyak and top U.S. officials have already led to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from any investigation of the Trump campaign and its possible ties to Moscow.

However, Kislyak also has a long history of meeting with Democratic lawmakers. On one occasion in 2013, the envoy met with seven then-Democratic senators. Kislyak also reportedly visited the Obama White House at least 22 times.

A White House spokesperson denied that the encounter constituted a meeting and added that the campaign was not responsible for inviting or vetting guests at the speech.