Putin says he 'didn't really even talk' to Flynn
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Jun 05, 2017,
Jun 05, 2017, 15:03
Putin has repeatedly denied the U.S. Intelligence Community assessment that he ordered a "multifaceted" influence campaign to "undermine public faith in the USA democratic process" and to "harm [Hillary Clinton's] electability".
"Put your finger anywhere on a map of the world, and everywhere you will hear complaints that American officials are interfering in internal electoral processes", Putin told Kelly.
Flynn is one among a number of current and former Trump associates at the center of investigations into whether anyone close to the president helped Russian Federation interfere in the USA election, and whether any crimes were committed.
Trump has also pushed back against the dossier, saying claims of it were generated by "sick people".
US intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favour, including by hacking into the emails of senior Democrats, a charge the Kremlin denies. "Do you think we're gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something?" he asked. "We didn't have any relationship at all".
United States 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. "I don't know. The routine job of an ambassador - do you think that from all over the world or from the United States, the ambassador reports to me every day who he meets with or what they discuss there?"
Putin said many chief executives of major USA companies visit Russian Federation and "do you think we are gathering dirt on all of them now?" Cue to a tight shot of Kelly, who explained that the "normally wonkish" discussion became "heated" when she asked Putin about cyber interference in the USA election: "I saw what was happening", he said, via the translator.
On the question of whether Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak met with officials in Trump's campaign before the election, Putin gave two answers.
During an interview on NBC News' "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly", host Megyn Kelly asked Putin if he has "something damaging on our president".
"When I came to the event at our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman, and someone else was sitting down on my other side", Putin said.
After Comey's dismissal, news reports emerged that Trump asked Comey to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn during a February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after Flynn was sacked for misrepresenting his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak. "You created a sensation out of nothing", Putin said, according to the Business Insider report.
"I never met with him", he said. "I was one of the guests there", he said. In January, a top US intelligence official had reportedly testified to the Congress that the Russian meddling in the USA elections went beyond hacking.