Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary and spokesman Dmitry Peskov sat down with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria over the weekend to discuss Russia’s place on the American political landscape today. Zakaria, of course, focused on Russia’s impact on the recent presidential election.
Zakaria:Let me ask you very directly, did the Russian government have any collaboration or serious communication back and forth with Donald Trump’s campaign during the election campaign last year?
Peskov:The answer is very simple. No. The fact that Russia is being demonized in that sense comes very strange to us. We are really sorry about that. The whole situation takes us away from the perspective of getting our relationship to a better condition. We quite unexpectedly we were faced a situation when Russia, all of a sudden became a nightmare for the United States. We cannot sincerely understand why American people and American politicians started the process of self-humiliation. You’re self-humiliating yourself saying a country can intervene in your election process.
Zakaria also wondered what connection, if any, Russia had to the Trump campaign. It was at this point in the interview that Peskov dropped a bombshell and said that the Russian ambassador had also met many times with Clinton’s campaign.
Zakaria: So what was it that the Russian ambassador was talking to so many of Donald Trump’s associates about?
Peskov: This is his job. He was talking about bilateral relations. He was talking about what is going on in the United States so we have a better understanding in Moscow. This is what is being performed by every ambassador of Russia abroad. Every ambassador of the united States abroad, including in Moscow. The more ambassador talks to people in his country of residence, the better job he does.
Zakaria: Did he have similar meetings with Clinton campaign officials because I don’t know of any?
Peskov: Well, if you look at some people connected with Hillary Clinton during her campaign, you would probably see that he had lots of meetings of that kind. There were no meetings about electoral process. No way it should be perceived as interference. If you look at it with intention, you would probably say he was trying to interfere in Hillary’s activities. It would be nonsense because it’s not true.