Former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein on Thursday said a 2015 dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “non-event.”
Speaking on CNN’s “OutFront with Erin Burnett,” Stein said that no translators were present for the dinner, which was hosted by Russian news agency RT, and added that she spoke only with a German diplomat at the table.
“There was no translator at the table,” Stein said. “Vladimir Putin came in very late, with three, four people that I thought were his bodyguards, turns out they were core people in his administration, but you never would have known that.”
“There were no introductions, no conversations,” she added. “Russians spoke Russian, I spoke to the only person in earshot who spoke English, who was a German diplomat that was sitting to my right. So it was really quite a non-event.”
Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Putin were both present at the 2015 dinner, which has prompted some to question whether Stein was involved in Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.
The Department of Justice, as well as multiple congressional committees, are investigating possible collusion between Russia and Trump campaign officials during the election. Flynn pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to FBI investigators.
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Stein re-entered headlines this week when it was announced that Senate investigators are looking into Stein’s 2016 campaign for possible connections to Russia. In the interview, Stein appeared to dodge a question from CNN’s Pamela Brown over whether she believes Russia made her an “unwitting” accomplice during the 2016 campaign.
“Thank you for raising that question, it’s really important and there’s a very clear-cut answer,” Stein responded. “My agenda, in the election, was really no different, fundamentally, from the Green Party’s agenda for the past many years.”
“Actually, [for] decades we’ve had a really strong peace, climate agenda, a foreign policy agenda based on international law, human rights, diplomacy. So there’s really nothing different in this election.”
Stein, who was the Green Party nominee for president in 2012 and 2016, came in fourth place and received about 1 percent of the vote nationally last year.