CNN reporter Matthew Chance snagged the first western media interview with former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak while he was heading to a campaign event in the Russian city of Saransk.
Kislyak was standoffish at first, telling the network that he was there to talk to the Russian people.
“I understand that. You said you’ve got no secret,” Chance said.
“I’ve said everything I wanted,” Kislyak said.
Chance immediately asked if Kislyak discussed “secret channels with the Kremlin” with White House adviser and President Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“I’ve said many times that we do not discuss the substance of our conversations with our American (inaudible) out of respect to our partners,” Kislyak said, adding that he never discussed anything “secret” with Trump either.
“We were discussing things that were important to your country and to mine,” he said.
When asked about allegations that Kislyak was a spy during his time in Washington and attempted to recruit members of the Trump administration, he said it was “nonsense” and called out CNN for reporting on the story.
“You should be ashamed, because CNN is the company that keeps pointing to this allegation. It’s nonsense,” he said.
Kislyak tried to walk away after that, but Chance asked about his prediction for the future of U.S.-Russia relations.
“It’s going to be difficult, and it’s not because of us. It’s because of the U.S. political dynamics, the anti-Russian laws. … It’s the sanctions laws, but sanctions is an instrument, it’s basically a statement of being anti-Russian,” Kislyak said. “It’s not going to be wished away, it’s going to stay and it’s going to spoil the ability of both countries to resume a normalcy in our relations. And normalcy in our relationship is exactly what is missing.”
Kislyak’s comments come after he was recalled back to Russia last month after spending nine years as his country’s ambassador to the U.S.
Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced out of Trump’s administration in February after it was revealed that he failed to disclose conversations he had with Kislyak about U.S. sanctions with Russia before Trump was inaugurated.
While he is no longer in Washington, Kislyak remains a key focus of the U.S. probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Read More →