FILE- In this Sept. 6, 2013, file photo, Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S. speaks with reporters at the Center for the National Interest in...
Cliff Owen

In the Russia scandal, many key players have bad memories

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he did not meet with any Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, despite two meetings he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Asked about the purpose of the meetings, Sessions said last week he didn’t fully remember.

Michael Flynn talked to Ambassador Kislyak during the transition period, and after insisting that U.S. sanctions against Russia didn’t come up during their conversations, Flynn later said he didn’t remember whether sanctions were part of the discussions or not.

Maybe memory loss is contagious? CNN had an interesting report late yesterday:
In an October speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, denied meeting with Donald Trump or campaign officials during the course of 2016 presidential election, but acknowledged that he met with members of Congress and others who approached him at events.

Kislyak spoke to the Detroit Economic Club on Oct. 27th of last year.
I’d need to see a full transcript of the ambassador’s comments – the CNN report was a little short on exact quotes – because the details are important. But if the reporting is accurate, it’s a curious development.

This report noted that, according to Kislyak, he didn’t meet with Trump campaign officials before the election, but there’s ample evidence to the contrary. Jeff Sessions, for example, met with Kislyak during the campaign. So did Michael Flynn. So did J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, two of Trump’s foreign policy advisers.

In fact, after the election, Kislyak acknowledged on the record that he spoke to members of Team Trump before the U.S. Election Day.

Why would he say the opposite in late October?

Russia and Scandals

In the Russia scandal, many key players have bad memories