By Olivia Beavers - 03-12-17 11:08 AM EDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said in an interview Sunday that the Russian ambassador who met with Trump campaign officials also met with "people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary."
"Well, if you look at some people connected with Hillary Clinton during her campaign, you would probably see that he had lots of meetings of that kind," Dmitry Peskov told CNN "GPS" host Fareed Zakaria. "There are lots of specialists in politology, people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary."
Peskov said it is the job of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to meet with officials on both sides to talk about "bilateral relations."
Peskov also defended those meetings, saying they were not an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election.
"But there were no meetings about elections - electoral process ... So if you look at it with intention to demonize Russia, you would probably say that, yes, he was trying to interfere in Hillary's activities. But it would be nonsense, because this is not true," Peskov said.
Peskov also said Putin never voiced support for then-presidential candidate Trump.
"You would probably recall that President Putin, during election campaign, had never answered directly a question about his candidate of his support. He kept saying that we will respect a choice of American people," Peskov told Zakaria.
Peskov, did however, concede that Putin preferred Trump over Clinton, saying, "If you ask him whether he had mentioned the then-candidate Donald Trump, I will answer, yes, he had."
Peskov suggested that the Kremlin leader found Clinton hostile toward Russia, while Trump was open to thawing U.S.-Russian relations.
"The candidate Hillary Clinton was quite negative about our country in her attitude and in her program, declaring Russia being nearly the main evil in the world and the main threat for the United States," Peskov said.
"And to the contrary, the other candidate, Donald Trump, was saying that, 'Yes, we disagree with the Russians ... in lots of issues, but we have to talk to them in order to try to find some understanding.' Whom would you like better? The one who says that Russia is evil or the one who says that, 'Yes, we disagree, but let's talk to understand and to try to find some points of agreement?'" he asked.