Reports About Trump Team Twisted to Fit 'Russia Meddling' Narrative - Think Tank

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Reports About Trump Team Twisted to Fit
Published 15-08-2017, 00:07
The Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) on Tuesday issued a statement confirming reports that the think tank and a representative of US President Donald Trump's election team had discussed a potential meeting, but the media statements were quoted out of context in order to adapt the story to the narrative of Trump's "Russian collusion."

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Washington Post newspaper published on Monday an article mentioning the contacts of Trump's campaign with the RIAC. According to the outlet, RIAC Program Director Ivan Timofeev informed the campaign officials that the officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry were open to Trump's visit to Moscow and requested a formal letter for the meeting. In the statement the RIAC said that the newspaper asked Timofeev for a comment that was partially published in the Monday article and expressed regret that a number of the official's comments had not been included in it.

"In fact, the article adapts the subject to a familiar idea about 'Russia's interference.' In the current conditions, when one conspiracy theory is replaced by another one, it is necessary to carry out unbiased work with facts… We understand the wish of media to escalate the issue. Media have to survive to compete for readers and for advertisement revenues. But we think that such activities should be based on high professional standards. We count on constructive and open cooperation with media adhering to the principles of objectivity and impartiality," the RIAC statement said.

The statement said that a representative of the campaign had voiced an idea of Trump's potential visit, adding that such visits by foreign officials were routine for the think tank, citing former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul's participation in such events.

According to the statement, in response to the campaign's idea, the think tank asked for a formal request from the US side in order to make the potential visit by Trump or members of his team more transparent, especially if such visit included potential contacts between the presidential candidate and Russian officials. However no response had been received.

"We have not received any formal request from Trump's campaign. In view of this fact, RIAC has not even considered the issue of a potential visit by either Trump or the members of his team to Russia, as well as meetings with these officials abroad," the think tank said.

RIAC added that it was always open for cooperation with any US partners regardless of their party affiliation and stressed that amid the deterioration of relations between the two countries it was very important to maintain contacts between experts, businessmen and politicians of the two states.

According to the statement, the think tank values its existing ties with Russian institutions and politicians, but remains an independent organization.

During the 2016 presidential race and after Trump's victory, a number of US media outlets, including The Washington Post, and politicians, including former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, made allegations about collusion between Trump's team and Russian officials, such as former Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

Russian officials have denied the allegations of meddling in the US election and the White House had also reaffirmed that there was no proof for allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow during the election.

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