Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described the scandal over contacts between Russia and members of US President Donald Trump’s administration as “a witch hunt.”
Lavrov’s Friday remarks come as a bipartisan group of US senators agreed earlier this week to carry out an investigation into the Trump administration’s alleged dealings with Moscow amid an outcry from members of Congress.
Former MI6 spy Christopher Steele who compiled the dossier on Trump’s alleged links with Russia has been reportedly approached to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee.
The FBI, at one stage, offered to pay Steele to expand his investigation of Trump and his associates. However, the former British spy continued his probe without getting paid because he was concerned about what he was discovering.
The White House has strongly rejected the report, which includes allegations that Russian intelligence services are in possession of comprising information on Trump and could potentially blackmail the new president.
Trump has blasted the dossier as “fake news” put together by a “failed spy.”
The development comes amid revelations that Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, met with the Russian ambassador to the US at least twice during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Sessions, a major policy adviser to the Trump campaign, said during his confirmation hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee in January that he did not know of any contacts between campaign members and Russian officials.
Sessions said Thursday he was recusing himself from a Justice Department inquiry into the alleged Russian contacts with Trump campaign advisers amid mounting calls for him to resign.
The president characterized the whole episode as a plot by Democrats who “have lost their grip on reality” after their loss in the November election. “It is a total witch hunt!" he said.
Trump’s national security adviser, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after details of his contacts with Russia surfaced last month.