The White House said there is "no recollection" about who President Trump may have met at an event last year attended by Russia's ambassador to the U.S., but indicated it's a possibility the two men shook hands.
A May 2016 Wall Street Journal report that the president met at a VIP reception with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. resurfaced Friday. According to the publication, the two were introduced on a receiving line before Trump gave a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Journal reported at the time that Trump greeted Sergey Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday denied that a meeting took place in a statement to the Huffington Post.
“The National Interest hosted Mr. Trump’s foreign policy speech and pre-speech reception. Several ambassadors were present. Mr. Trump was at the reception for about five minutes and then went immediately to the podium,” she said.
“We have no recollection of who he may have shaken hands with at the reception and we were not responsible for inviting or vetting guests. To state a ‘meeting’ took place is disingenuous and extremely misleading.”
“From everything I saw, when the receiving line was over, the Secret Service led Mr. Trump to a specially cleared holding area behind the podium where he was supposed to speak,” he said Tuesday.
“There would have been no opportunity for him to talk to Kislyak separately. After the speech was over, Mr. Trump returned to the holding area and then left the hotel without any time or format for a private encounter with anyone. Again, the Secret Service managed his movements.”
Reports surfaced last week that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE had spoken twice with Kislyak during the campaign, which he did not disclose during his confirmation hearing. He testified under oath during the hearing that he "did not have communications with the Russians."