Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has once again dismissed allegations of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, saying he would like to be shown at least one fact proving this “amazing” claim.
“I don’t know anything about this fact. It’s amazing that serious people are making a mountain out of a molehill,” Lavrov said at a news conference in the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday.
Lavrov’s comments came in the wake of new developments in the ongoing investigation into US President Donald Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Russia to beat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during the November 8 face-off.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., had met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had alleged ties to the Kremlin, during the campaign.
Trump’s son confirmed in a statement that he had indeed met Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June last year on the grounds that she had damaging info about Clinton and her ties to Moscow. However, he cut the meeting short because the information provided was “vague and made no sense.”
Accompanying Donald Jr. in the meeting were Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, suggested the report confirmed by five unnamed sources.
Kremlin denies ties to Veselnitskaya
The Kremlin also reacted to the report on Wednesday, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying the Russian government has never been in touch with Veselnitskaya.
“We have already said we are absolutely unaware of this story, we have never been in contact with this lawyer… She has nothing to do whatsoever with us,” he told reporters during a press briefing.
The Times had claimed in its follow-up reports that emails sent to Trump’s son before the meeting had clear references to the Russian government as a source of damaging info on Clinton.
In an interview with Fox News, Donald Jr. said the meeting was “such a nothing” that he didn’t feel the need to fill in his father on it.
“I mean, I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame,” he said.
The FBI and some congressional committees have been running a probe into allegations of coordination between the Russian government and some Trump associates during the 2016 campaign and transition.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he firmly denied the allegations once again as he met Trump for the first time on the sidelines of the annual G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday.