Russian ambassador denied meeting with Trump or campaign officials in October speech

Russian ambassador asked if met with Trump
Russian ambassador asked if met with Trump

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  • Kislyak spoke to the Detroit Economic Club on Oct. 27th of last year.
  • Kislyak was asked in Detroit whether his embassy had met with either of the political campaigns during the course of the election.

(CNN)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. CNN's KFile obtained a DVD of his speech from Lawrence Technological University.
    Contact between Russian officials and members of the Trump team have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks as the FBI investigates Russia's suspected interference in the 2016 election.
    Kislyak was asked in Detroit whether his embassy had met with either of the political campaigns during the course of the election.
    "What do you call campaign?" he answered. "I was invited for example to both conventions. I was, uh the first, that was the Republican convention, but then unexpectedly while being there, I was called back to Moscow for reason that has nothing to do with the elections. So I wasn't there, but we had invitations to both."
    Kislyak was then asked specifically if he had met with any Trump advisers or Trump himself at the convention in Cleveland.
    "No, but we met those people who came to see all the ambassadors who were sitting in a special lounge there specifically reserved for the diplomatic corp. and I was among those who were there talking to members of the Congress, to all the peoples who cared to come to us and talk to us," he answered.
    Kislyak is considered by US intelligence officials as a top Russian spy recruiter in Washington, a claim Russian officials deny.
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Kislyak last September in Sessions's DC office when he was still a US Senator and top Trump adviser. Sessions also interacted with Kislyak in Cleveland at a Heritage Foundation event held during the RNC in July.
    The revelation of the meetings, which ran counter to his denials during his confirmation hearing that he had met with Russian officials, led Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation involving the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. Sessions says he doesn't recall discussing the campaign with Kislyak at any of these meetings.
    Kislyak was also present at a VIP reception last April for a foreign policy speech delivered by Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. The White House has said characterizations of Trump's interactions with Kislyak at that event as a meeting are "absurd."
    Ret. Lt. Gen Michael Flynn ultimately had to resign his post as Trump's National Security Adviser after it was revealed he had contacts with the Russian ambassador in December about US sanctions on the country.