Sessions Revelations Put ‘Quiet, Behind-The-Scenes’ Russian Envoy In Spotlight – MICHELE KELEMEN – March 2, 20175:23 PM ET


Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak arrives before President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, is not known to seek the limelight. He’s a mild-mannered diplomat and an arms control expert who came to Washington as ambassador in 2008. But he has been in the news a lot of late, as Trump administration contacts with him come under scrutiny.

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s original national security adviser, had to resign after misleading the administration about his phone calls with Kislyak. And now, Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has come under fire for meeting twice with the ambassador last year.

“I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said Thursday. But he announced he would recuse himself “from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.”

Speaking at Stanford University last November, Kislyak defended his contacts with Trump surrogates.

Our job is to talk to all the people, be it Republicans, be it Democrats, whether they work for a campaign, whether they don’t work for a campaign,” he said. “Our job is to understand.”

He also lamented the souring of U.S.-Russia relations.

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