Throughout the general election campaign, Donald Trump batted down accusations that he was too friendly with Russia -- from his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin to alleged connections between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Now the Washington Post is reporting that Russian government officials spoke with members of President-elect Donald Trump’s team during his campaign, according to a senior Russian diplomat.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the state-run Interfax news agency that “there were contacts” with the Trump campaign, the Post revealed Thursday.
“Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Rybakov said. “Those people have always been in the limelight in the United States and have occupied high-ranking positions. I cannot say that all of them but quite a few have been staying in touch with Russian representatives.”
“We have just begun to consider ways of building dialogue with the future Donald Trump administration and channels we will be using for those purposes,” Ryabkov added.
Ryabkov also told Bloomberg that there was “sporadic” contact with the Clinton team, although those conversations were “not always productive.”
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, denied that the campaign spoke with the Russian government.
“The campaign had no contact with Russian officials,” she told the Post in an email.