This is certainly the million dollar question doing the rounds right now. President Trump denied having had any contacts with the Russians during his poll campaign but the Russians have a different story to tell. Kremlin sources say that they did talk with members of Donald Trump’s staff during that phase. And the staff members were highly placed ones in the President’s team.
Why is this important?
Mainly this gains importance because there are accusations being made about Russia trying to manipulate the U.S. Presidential election results via cyber-attacks. Trump has categorically denied having any ties with Russia. What’s more, he has also clearly stated that ‘no person he deals with’ has any connection with Russia. This is in stark contrast to what the Russians are now revealing about their connection with Trump’s staff.
The Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, created waves at the beginning of the month when he mentioned that he had been in touch, that too frequently, with Michael Flynn, who was Trump’s National security advisor until last week. The reports that contacts took place have been vehemently denied by the President’s staff.
NY Times: transcripts say a different story
On the other hand, the New York Times published a news report this month saying that conversation transcripts that had been intercepted by U.S. agencies clearly indicated that interactions between Trump’s team and the Russians indeed took place.
Flynn is said to have discussed American sanctions against Russia with the latter’s ambassador in the period before Trump became president. While it is regular practice for the teams of country’s heads to maintain diplomatic ties, Flynn’s interaction has raised several questions. This is because of the allegation that they went beyond the exchange of pleasantries and center around the possibility of a reprieve from the sanctions that had been imposed on it by President Obama for Russia’s interference in the previous elections. Flynn originally denied having spoken with the ambassador and then retracted his denial through his team to say that he had no recollection of whether or not sanctions were discussed.
The situation is under spotlight now because the point at which the Russians claim the conversations happened was the time when the U.S. security services was also investigating this country after accusations of them hacking into the Democratic National Committee computers made the news.