07:46 GMT +315 November 2019
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    US Diplomats Believe 'Wrong to Criminalize' Russian Ambassador's Meetings

    © AFP 2019 / Mario TAMA
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    US diplomats are worried about the "witch-hunt" which is taking place amid alleged contacts between the Trump administration's officials and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul told The Hill that such attitude toward the Russian ambassador could undermine US-Russian relations.

    "Kislyak’s job is to meet with government officials and campaign people and I think he’s good at his job. People should meet with the Russian ambassador and it’s wrong to criminalize that or discourage it. I want the Russian government to be as informed as possible about the American political process. When I was ambassador, it was frustrating how poorly informed the Russian government was. It’s a good thing to meet with him, not a bad thing," McFaul told The Hill.

    John Beyrle, another US diplomat who worked in Russia under George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, also expressed concerns over the scandals, stressing, however, the need for the investigation into the alleged Russian influence on the US presidential election.

    "It’s the usual Washington breathlessness that accompanies any story these days about Trump or the Russians. That doesn’t mean there isn’t need for an investigation. There is almost no question that there was Russian interference in the election and there needs to be an investigation. But to conclude from all this that Kislyak was somehow a bad actor is missing the target," Beyrle said.

    In February, US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announced his resignation after media reports, based on leaked information, that he had misled the Trump administration about the extent of his talks with Russian officials.

    Earlier in the month, media reported that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions also had two meetings with Kislyak during the 2016 presidential campaign while he was a senator. Despite accusations, Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

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    Tags:
    Sergei Kislyak, Michael McFaul, United States, Russia
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