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.
“No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever,” McCaskill tweeted. “Ambassadors call members of Foreign [Relations Committee].”
Soon after that tweet, it was revealed she did interact with the Russian ambassador.
And now, CNN has learned, McCaskill spent an evening at a black-tie reception at the ambassador’s Washington residence in November 2015.
McCaskill was photographed at the event, honoring former Democratic Rep. James Symington, who hails from her state of Missouri and worked to promote US-Russia relations.
In an interview, McCaskill acknowledged attending the dinner, but she said she only did so because of her long-standing relationship with Symington, whom she said “kind of got me started in politics.” She claimed the 140-character limit on Twitter did not let her clarify that she never met “one-on-one” with the Russian ambassador, and added she “did not” speak with Kislyak at the reception.
McCaskill, who is one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection next year, conceded she should have exercised more caution in her initial tweet.
“I should’ve been careful about the 140 characters and given it context,” McCaskill said. “But it’s not the first or the last time my tweets will get me in trouble.”
A spokesman for McCaskill later said the senator interned for Symington in college and considers him a mentor.