Trump met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign

Despite admissions from several of his cabinet members that they had contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to the president’s inauguration, Donald Trump himself has roundly denied interacting with Moscow during his campaign. Items from the Wall Street Journal and Newsmax from May 2016 reported otherwise, detailing a meeting with Trump and Kislyak at a VIP reception in DC in April 2016. The item, which initially saw very little pickup when it was published last year, was posted by AMERICABlog News on Tuesday.

The Newsmax post, titled “Putin ‘Pleased’ with Trump,” detailed the meeting, which took place the day after the candidate gave a speech calling for a better relationship between the U.S. and Russia:

“I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia — from a position of strength only — is possible, absolutely possible,” Trump said at his foreign-policy speech, in April. “Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.”

But on that same day, Trump met with Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, at a VIP reception along with three other foreign ambassadors.

The Wall Street Journal confirmed that meeting took place:

A few minutes before he made those remarks, Mr. Trump met at a VIP reception with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak. Mr. Trump warmly greeted Mr. Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors who came to the reception.

Think Progress published a photo of Kislyak sitting front row for the speech.

Both Trump and his surrogates have vehemently denied that the campaign had communication with Russia. “Russia is a ruse,” Trump said during his unhinged February 16 presser. “I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia.”

It’s not illegal to meet with the ambassador, so why deny it? The same could be said of Attorney General Jeff Sessions when asked at his confirmation hearing whether he met with Russian contacts during the campaign. “I did not have communications with the Russians,” Sessions said, despite meeting with Kislyak during the Republican National Convention.

On Tuesday, former Trump adviser Jeffrey ‘JD’ Gordon told The Independent that he met with Kislyak at the RNC in order to discuss how a potential Trump administration could cooperate with the Kremlin in bringing down ISIS.

It’s kind of crazy how no one in the Trump camp, including Sessions, former DHS Michael Flynn, adviser Jared Kushner, and now Gordon, can remember meeting Kislyak until months after the fact.

[photo: Getty]