Former US ambassador to Russia to meet with Trump admin on 'harassing' from Moscow

Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, plans to press the Trump administr...

Posted: Aug 20, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: Aug 20, 2018 1:38 PM

Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, plans to press the Trump administration for its help with Moscow's "harassing" of former US officials like himself, he said Monday.

"I am coming to DC today to try to meet with several US government officials to urge them to communicate with their Russian counterparts about the negative consequences of further harassing former US officials like me," McFaul tweeted Monday.

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The discussion comes after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last week that President Donald Trump was entertaining a proposal raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin in their summit talks that would allow Russians to interrogate US officials in exchange for allowing special counsel Robert Mueller to interrogate suspected Russian hackers accused of interfering in the 2016 American election.

McFaul, a fierce critic of Putin, as well as American-born financier Bill Browder, who pushed for the passage of legislation known as the Magnitsky Act to sanction Russian officials over human rights abuses, are among the individuals wanted by Russia for questioning.

The former ambassador, who did not respond to CNN's request for comment, will be meeting with Fiona Hill, Trump's top Russia adviser at the White House, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

A White House official confirmed to CNN that McFaul "requested a meeting with the National Security Council and it was accepted out of courtesy."

The Washington Post first reported the meeting with Hill, citing two people familiar with the matter, saying it would happen Tuesday. Hill, a senior director on the National Security Council, is seen within the administration as one of Trump's most hawkish advisers on Russia and accompanied the President during his meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, last week, the Post reported.

Sanders initially indicated that no final decision on Putin's proposal had been made, but State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert offered a more forceful denunciation of the Russian allegations against the Americans, calling them "absolutely absurd."

A day later, following outcry from diplomats and lawmakers, Sanders said Trump disagreed with the proposal.

"It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it," Sanders said in a statement.

After his tweet Monday, McFaul followed up with a second post saying the meetings were an effort to send a message to Russia: that American officials should not be indicted through Interpol.

"I think it is a low probability event that the Russian government would indict me and other USG officials, and then seek our detention through Interpol, regarding some crazy scheme that Putin spun to Trump in Helsinki. I want it to be a zero probability event," McFaul wrote.

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