(AP) A senior lawmaker called it “hysteria.” The Foreign Ministry said it was “media vandalism.” And the Kremlin lamented the “emotional atmosphere” currently in Washington about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ meetings with a Russian diplomat, saying it could thwart efforts to mend relations.
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The uproar is widely seen in Moscow as part of efforts by President Donald Trump’s political foes to block any possible attempts at a rapprochement with Russia.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters he did not know anything about the meetings last year between Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Sessions, who at that time was a U.S. senator. Sessions also was a policy adviser to Trump’s campaign.
News of the two meetings has spurred calls in Congress for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Sessions’ office has said the meetings were in his capacity as a senator rather than as a Trump campaign adviser.