Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in an interview Sunday that the Russian ambassador met with members of the campaign of now-US President Donald Trump but also held meetings with “people working in think-tanks who advise Hillary Clinton as well as people who work for her.”
“Well, if you look at some people related to Hillary Clinton during the campaign, you will probably see that with many of them held meetings with the ambassador,” Dmitry Peskov said in a conversation with CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria. Peskov said it was the task of the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislayak to meet with officials from both sides to talk about “bilateral relations.”
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Peskov also defended these meetings by saying that they were not an attempt to intervene in the 2016 elections: “But there were no meetings regarding the electoral process, so if you want to demonize Russia, and accuse us of sabotaging Hillary Clinton’s activities, that would be absurd, because that is not true.”
The Russian government official also said that Putin never expressed support for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump: “You will probably remember that President Putin, during the election campaign, had never directly responded to a question about the candidate he supported, since he continually said that Russia would respect the one chosen by the American people.”
But Peskov admitted that Putin preferred Trump over Clinton: “If you ask him, he would have said he would prefer Trump,” since Putin found Hillary Clinton hostile to Russia, while the Republican was open to thawing relations between Russia and the United States.
“Hillary Clinton was very negative about our country with respect to our government, and essentially viewed Russia as the main evil in the world and the main threat to the United States,” Peskov said.
Regarding Trump, Peskov said: “On the contrary, the other candidate, Donald Trump, said that he did disagree with us in many respects, but he also acknowledged that he had to talk more with our government in order to try to find some common ground. Which candidate should we like more? The one who says that Russia is bad or the one who holds views akin to what Trump expressed?”
Source: The Hill