Sounds of jazz from the bebop era flowed through the air of a two story home in Atlanta’s snazzy Little Five Points community on Friday, June 17, 2017 miles from Putin and Russia. Small groups of Green Party loyalists mingled, drinking purified water, nibbling on arugula salad with pitted and unpitted olives, humus and artichokes.
The front door opened and in sauntered a petite gray-haired lady, bounding with energy. She asked for a quiet space to use her lap-top to complete chronicling, for public view, her perception of an infamous dinner in Moscow, Russia with Michael Flynn and Vladimir Putin in December 2015.
The host escorted her to an upstairs writing room. Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor is the center of a Special Prosecutor’s probe into allegations that the Russian government attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Seated across from Flynn at this late 2015 dinner was Jill Stein, who eight months later would receive the Green Party nomination for president.
Stein acknowledged she attended the now infamous dinner where Michael Flynn can be seen in a video seated next to Vladimir Putin. The dinner was hosted by the RT news agency, formerly Russia Today. Reportedly, Flynn received $40,000 from the Russians to attend this dinner which was a celebration of RT’s 10th anniversary.
As the party faithful continued to arrive, Stein worked on her paper. When she came downstairs the host handed her a glass of water, several state party officials spoke to the group while Stein found the vegetarian spread on the table to her delight.
She addressed her appearance at this controversial dinner seating across from Putin and the fact that she is being pulled into the Russian election meddling controversy:
“I did not receive any money for travel, for my hotel or anything else,” Stein said, adding, “I guess if you add up the cost of the meal at the dinner that would be the extent of it, and I didn’t pay for the meal.”
Other than an interview with Mother Jones a few weeks ago, this was the first time that Stein had opened up in a public group to discuss her 2015 trip to Russia. She is in Atlanta this weekend to speak at the Georgia Green Party’s annual state convention.
“I went to Russia to discuss peace,” she said. “I had no idea that Putin would be present. I did not know who Flynn was, but I did exchanging pleasantries with him because he was one of the few people at the table who spoke English, she added.
Stein describes the dinner scene with Putin this way:
“I was seated at the table; in walked Putin with what I assumed were his storm-troopers. They actually rushed in like they were storm-troopers. I later learned that the other men were his deputy secretaries. Neither Putin nor any of the men in his group spoke in English. They spoke Russian at the table, so there was no communication taking place. The English speaking people at the table spoke English and the Russians spoke Russian. Putin got up and made a speech entirely in Russian. No one at the table who did not speak Russian knew what he had said in his speech. All I know is he gave a speech. I could not tell you what he said,” she stated.
Stein’s appearance at the Flynn-Putin dinner was brought to light by Rachel Maddow on a Vice News report. Maddow speculates that Stein may have been involved in Russian meddling in the US presidential election.
Stein denied any involvement with the Russians. She denied receiving any financial support from them and asserted that her run for the presidency was about waging a war for peace, which she contends is not the end game of Putin or Trump.
“During that trip, I visited Paris where I met with both French and Chinese officials and spoke to them about the need to reduce carbon emissions around the world and to let them know that there were people inside the United States who took climate change seriously,” she said.
“I’m honored by the attention we are getting on this issue. Somebody wants to slow us down, that can only mean that we have been successful in getting our message of people, planet and peace over profit, out to the people,” she beamed.
Harold Michael Harvey is a novelist and essayist. He is the author of Paper Puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org