While many American media commentators decried Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony about his meetings with the Russian ambassador as evasive, Russian media poked fun at how their country is covered in the US.
“It is unlikely that Sessions’ comments will calm anyone down,”
wrote Vladimir Ardaev for RIA Novosti, a major news agency owned by the Russian state. “America cannot accept the fact that it elected the […] unconventional, often uncontained and unpredictable Donald Trump all by itself.”
During his hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said that he could not recall whether he discussed allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election when he met with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, last year. He also said that while he “pushed back” against Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict of 2014, he couldn’t remember if he brought up “Russia-related security issues” with Kislyak.
“I just don’t have a real recall of the meeting. I was not making a report about it to anyone,” Sessions said.
After citing Gallup polls on Trump’s falling approval ratings, RIA Novosti reported on Sessions’ refusal to answer questions about what he discussed with the President and his response that Comey was fired because of poor performance rather than any role in the Russia investigation.
“Not only Democrats but also many Republicans will try to justify [Trump’s unpredictability] with ‘foreign interference,'” wrote Ardaev. “And Russia will naturally be the personification of such ‘foreign evil.'”
Russia Times, another Kremlin-owned news agency, called the FBI’s investigation into Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak as “attempts to attack” the ambassador. Numerous outlets focused on Sessions’ calling accusations of any collusion with Russian officials “a detestable lie,” with another RIA Novosti article saying that the US is currently investigating accusations of any interference that has “allegedly taken place.”
“In American media you will regularly see articles, with links to as a rule unnamed sources, of contacts between Trump’s pre-election team and Russian officials and businesspeople,” the RIA Novosti article reads.
But even despite these comments, Sessions’ testimony drew relatively little interest in Russian media, with more detailed coverage coming out of Russian-language American outlets such as Voice of America.
Even before Sessions’s testimony, Russian journalists wrote that American insistence on following through with the hacking accusations could help Putin win support before the 2018 election back home.
“Anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S. media is good for Putin’s reelection in 2018,” wrote Vladimir Frolov for the English-language paper The Moscow Times.
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