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James Woolsey: I Would Have Advised Against Russia Meetings

Image: James Woolsey: I Would Have Advised Against Russia Meetings
James Woolsey (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 May 2017 08:33 PM

Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Wednesday that he would have advised against any Trump campaign officials talking with Russia when he was on the transition team because "it's just probably not all that wise."

"I didn't know about it," Woolsey, who quit in January, told Erin Burnett on CNN. "I would not recommend any of the Americans involved in this to take any meetings."

Woolsey said that he would only endorse them if "they were asked by the president-elect and they had been through some serious discussions with the senior CIA or FBI people explaining how to deal with the situation."

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, met with Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, head of the Russian state-owned bank and an intelligence officer appointed by President Vladimir Putin, at Trump Tower in December.

The bank is under U.S. sanctions and was implicated in a 2015 espionage case in which one of its New York executives pleaded guilty to spying and was jailed.

Kushner also reportedly discussed creating a back-channel secret communications network with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition.

His Moscow contacts have come under scrutiny by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Jamie Gorelick, Kushner's lawyer, said last week that her client would cooperate with the investigation.

"Mr. Kushner previously volunteered with Congress what he knows about these meetings," Gorelick said in a statement. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."

Woolsey, 75, who has served four presidents, described Russia Wednesday as "in a sense is a KGB state," adding that one could easily get into a conversation with an intelligence officer.

"This is an illustration of if you're in Russia and get in a conversation with someone at a big reception — and he says he is a very prominent banker and he would like to talk to you about an oil gas deal, he may be what he said he is.

"He may be a Russian organized crime boss. He may be a senior KGB officer.

"Or he may be all three. And none of those three institutions has any problem with that at all.

"But it's not crazy, and it's not illegal," Woolsey said of Kushner's meetings. "It's just probably not all that wise, because you're in a pit of snakes — and you've got to make sure you don't get bit."

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Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Wednesday that he would have advised against any Trump campaign officials talking with Russia when he was on the transition team because "it's just probably not all that wise.""I didn't know about it," Woolsey, who quit in January,...
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2017-33-31
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 08:33 PM
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