"Sergey I. Kislyak, the longtime Russian ambassador to the United States, hosted a dazzling dinner in his three-story, Beaux-Arts mansion four blocks north of the White House to toast Michael A. McFaul just weeks before he took up his post as the American envoy to Russia.
It was, Mr. McFaul recalled, an “over-the-top, extraordinary dinner,” including five courses of Russian fusion cuisine for 50 seated guests who shared one main characteristic: They were government officials intimately involved in formulating Russia policy for the Obama administration, including senior figures from the Defense and State Departments.
“I admired the fact that he was trying to reach deep into our government to cultivate relations with all kinds of people,” Mr. McFaul said of the dinner in late 2011. “I was impressed by the way he went about that kind of socializing, the way he went about entertaining, but always with a political objective.”
Mr. Kislyak’s networking success has landed him at the center of a sprawling controversy and made him the most prominent, if politically radioactive, ambassador in Washington. Two advisers to President Trump have run into trouble for not being more candid about contacts with Mr. Kislyak: Michael T. Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser, and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who admitted two previously undisclosed conversations. Mr. Kislyak also met during the transition with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner." NY Times
For those of you who do not have a lot of knowledge of what ambassadors do for a living:
1. They have primary responsibility to serve as a main channel of communication to the government of the country or countries to which they are accredited. Some ambassadors are accredited to more countries than the one they reside in. i.e., The Israeli ambassador to the US is usually also accredited to Canada.
2. They have a responsibility to network widely and effectively in the country of their accreditation. They seek to form relationships of cordial communication with government, media, academic, etc. people in their country of accreditation. Some are better at this than others. Kislyak is reputed to be quite good at this task.
3. Based on networking, official visits and on the ground conversations ambassadors (and their staffs) report by cable, internet or whatever the results of their conversations and observations. This is a normal function of an embassy, including all US embassies.
4. Ambassadors administer their diplomatic missions and any subordinated consulates, trade missions, etc.
5. Ambassadors organize and attend various ceremonial occasions; national days, awards, etc.