Europe

US intelligence committee is 'confused,' Russia spokesman says

Strategy Room: David Mercer and Bradley Blakeman on Capitol Hill reaction to the FBI's probe

 

Russia has been uncharacteristically mum on the Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing about Russian meddling in the U.S. Presidential election.

It was not until late Tuesday morning when the Kremlin finally commented. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the committee was “confused.”

“They are trying to find confirmation of their own conclusions,” he said, “but can’t find either proof or confirmation and are going around in circles.”

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Since the election of President Donald Trump, Russian lawmakers had been quick to comment on the word from Washington in the press and on Twitter. Hopes in Moscow were initially high that President Trump would extend an olive branch to Russia, and find a way to do business with it, as he had said repeatedly he would like to do.

But with the barrage of leaks about the Trump campaign’s possible inappropriate dealings with members of the Russian government, the forced resignation of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, and the revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose conversations with the Russian Ambassador to Washington, Russia has gone increasingly quiet.

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Monday’s House hearing was covered in the Russian press. Sputnik News Service ran an article called the “Dozen Most Insane Statements from US Congress’ Hearing on ‘Russian Spying’,” which outlined the contradictions the author saw in some of the statements made on the Hill.

And Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in chief of RT, the Russian government-funded channel that broadcasts in different languages around the world, said in a statement: “US intelligence committee hearings are like a spy movie from the 1970s, naïve, funny, but it’s still interesting to see the ending.”

There may not be excessive chatter about the hearing in Moscow now, because the Kremlin has always denied involvement in the hacking of the U.S. election and having intelligence dossiers on Trump. Possibly they are just waiting for the ending.

Before the hearing, Sergei Baburin, vice speaker of the State Duma, or parliament, said he didn’t think the U.S. was trying to disparage Russia.

“In my opinion, there are some political forces in Washington that don’t care as much about demonizing Russia as putting in doubt the legitimacy of the elected President Trump,” Baburin said. “Because, at the moment, spreading fabrications about hackers providing Trump’s victory means a lack of respect to American citizens who made a decision that they wanted change.”

Given the way the hearing went, it is likely Baburin’s sentiments haven’t changed.

Amy Kellogg currently serves as a Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent based in Milan, Italy. She joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999 as a Moscow-based correspondent. Follow her on Twitter: @amykelloggfox