According to BuzzFeed, which cites three anonymous sources, Russia is reportedly recalling Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the man who dared to do his job and talk to US politicians and visible public figures, and who according to The Hill had “emerged as a focal point in the FBI probe into Russia’s election meddling.” While the Kremlin has not confirmed the report, BuzzFeed adds that Kislyak is scheduled to leave Washington next month, following a July 11 going-away party at the St. Regis Hotel, two blocks away from the White House.
Kislyak, 66, had been reported to be heading to New York to lead Russia’s delegation at the United Nations. If confirmed, his return to Russia will mark the end of his 10-year tenure as Russia’s leading diplomat to the United States and makes him another casualty of the growing controversy over the Russian activity.
As readers are well aware, Kislyak has been a key figure in the growing investigation by a special counsel and multiple congressional committees into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election that put President Trump in the White House. Two key Trump administration officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and adviser Jared Kushner, had meetings with Kislyak last year that they failed to disclose to congressional and federal officials. Sessions recused himself in March from any Justice Department investigation into the Russian interference, in part because of his unreported contacts with Kislyak.
Ironically, all Kislyak was doing was, well, his job which is to meet with people like Sessions, Kushner and yes, even Trump.
In May, the Associated Press reported that Kushner and Kislyak tried to set up a secret back-channel communications line with Russia that would have used Russian equipment.
On May 10, Trump met with Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office. During that meeting, Ray Locker reminds us that Trump reportedly shared classified intelligence information with the Russians and bragged about firing FBI Director James Comey, whom he called a “nut job.”