Russia’s alleged hacking of the U.S. election system has caused quite a bit of Washington hand-wringing in recent days, but that hasn’t stopped one former Georgia congressman from heading to Moscow.
NPR reports that ex-Savannah U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, who served as a top Donald Trump surrogate during the election, was in Russia earlier this week to brief American businesspeople there about what they could expect from the incoming Trump administration. He said he was not there to meet with officials from the Russian government.
A topic of conversation was the U.S.’s sanctions against Moscow. Kingston told the public radio giant that Trump is open to reconsidering them:
“Trump can look at sanctions. They’ve been in place long enough. Has the desired result been reached? He doesn’t have to abide by the Obama foreign policy. That gives him a fresh start.”
When asked earlier this year about his position on Russia and the Crimea, Trump said he “would be looking at that.” Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula previously held by Ukraine led to western governments levying new penalties against Russian.
A Kingston spokeswoman said the Savannah Republican was in Russia on business for his lobbying firm and not on duty for Trump. She described it as a routine post-election meeting.
Kingston’s visit East comes as revelations of how Russian hackers allegedly penetrated many of the country’s political institutions to impact the outcome of the election were splashed across the front pages of major newspapers and Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for secretary of state, was being scrutinized for his past business deals with Russia. The ExxonMobil CEO has billions of dollars tied up in agreements with Russia that can only go forward if the U.S. drops the sanctions.
Kingston also posted some amusing pictures from his trip on his Twitter page:
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