In March Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) thrust herself into the heart of the Russian controversy when she tweeted, “No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign [Relations Committee].”
McCaskill wrote this as a way of scolding attorney general Jeff Session for failing to report his meetings with the Russian ambassador during his Senate confirmation proceedings. At the time, Sessions claimed the meetings were not campaign related. He insisted they occurred in his role as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. That claim inspired McCaskill’s now infamous tweet.
As it turned out, McCaskill had twice bragged on Twitter about her earlier meetings with the Russian ambassador, one in person and one on the phone. Now, CNN reveals–better late than never to act like a real news organization–that in November 2015 McCaskill also attended a black-tie dinner at the Russian ambassador’s Washington residence.
In fact, McCaskill was photographed at the event honoring former her one time mentor, Democratic Rep. James Symington, allegedly for his work promoting U.S. relations with Russia. In that Symington last served in Congress nearly forty years prior the cynic has to wonder whether the real purpose of the reception might have been to get acquainted with McCaskill. That said, Symington did chair the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation until he stepped down in 2015, back when Democrats happily cooperated with the Russians. The CNN article does not mention the foundation.
McCaskill told CNN that she “did not” speak with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the dinner, which would seem an unusual breach of etiquette given that she was a guest at his home. She blamed the 140-character limit for her failure to report her attendance at this dinner earlier. “I should’ve been careful about the 140 characters and given it context,” McCaskill told CNN. “But it’s not the first or the last time my tweets will get me in trouble.”
CNN’s Manu Raju laid out the problem with that excuse: “In March, Sen. Claire McCaskill was unambiguous. The Missouri Democrat said she never once met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in her 10 years serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee.” McCaskill is up for reelection in 2018.