Vladimir Putin Tells Megyn Kelly Hackers "Shifted the Blame" to Russian Federation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said hackers who leaked sensitive Democratic files a year ago could have been from anywhere, including the United States, in a Friday interview with NBC.

USA intelligence agencies have accused Mr Putin of ordering a hacking and influence campaign to tilt last year's election in favour of Republican Donald Trump, after the billionaire pledged to boost ties with Moscow.

Earlier, at a Friday forum moderated by Kelly, Putin likened the USA blaming his country for hacking the presidential election to "blaming the Jews" and joked that the newscaster's "underage daughter" could have been behind the hacking.

"Hackers can be anywhere, ' the Russian leader told NBC News" Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly.

A day after referring to hackers as "artists" who are creative in their work and choose their targets according to their mood, Putin said they could be anywhere.

Speaking with the NBC, President Putin said it might have been convenient for whoever stole the files to release this information "in the midst of political battle". "Can you imagine something like that?"

"By some calculations", he continued, "it was convenient for them to release this information, so they released it, citing Russian Federation. Could you imagine something like that?" he asked rhetorically, adding, "I can" so as to point her in the right direction.

Putin also said it could have been the Central Intelligence Agency behind the hacking.

While participating in a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Putin compared the U.S.' repeated claims that Russians tried to interfere in the presidential election to anti-Semitism. The Kremlin leader said that Democrats, having lost the election, were trying to put the blame on Russian Federation to cover for their own campaign failures. When I was in Germany I had said that Paris or no Paris.

'But the problem is not with us, the problem is inside American politics, ' said Putin.

Trump and his surrogates - and Putin himself - have sought to discredit the hacking allegations and ongoing investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

During a panel meeting, Putin called on the USA participants of the forum to "help restore a normal political dialogue. help a newly elected president and new administration".

Probes have centered on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was sacked three weeks into his tenure after lying about his contact with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

  • Leroy Wright