Trump slams Pelosi over Russia meetings
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump needled House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for claiming she had never met the Russian ambassador and called for an “investigation” into her Russia “ties”, after ribbing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for eating doughnuts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The California Democrat told Politico on Friday that she had never met Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
A file photo from Pelosi’s 2010 meeting with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, however, shows Kislyak at the table across from her.
“I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it,” Trump tweeted on Friday, flubbing the spelling of “hereby” twice before nailing it on the third try.
Caroline Behringer, Pelosi’s deputy communications director, said the Democratic leader’s response “was clearly about private, one-on-one meetings” and added that Kislyak’s presence was “incidental”.
“Clearly, one needs to remind that Attorney General Sessions lied under oath about a secret meeting amidst Russia’s hacking of our election, which he also didn’t disclose in a written questionnaire,” she said.
Pelosi herself suggested in a tweet that there’s a big difference between her situation and that of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who came under fire this week for not disclosing two meetings he had last year with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing.
“@realDonaldTrump doesn’t know difference between official meeting photographed by press and closed secret meeting his AG lied about under oath,” she wrote.
Trump had earlier called for a swift probe into Schumer.
“We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin,” Trump tweeted.
“A total hypocrite!”
That tweet included a 2003 image of Schumer having coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New York. According to the caption, Putin was visiting the first New York gas station of Lukoil, a Russian company.
Schumer shot back on Twitter that he would “happily talk” about his contact with Putin and the Russian leader’s associates.
It “took place in ’03 in full view of press & public under oath,” he said. “Would you & your team?”