Putin offers Comey 'political asylum' during annual call-in show

Russian Federation is ready to grant asylum to former FBI Director James Comey if he is persecuted in the United States, President Vladimir Putin said.

Speaking on his annual Direct Line program, in which he answers screened questions from viewers all over Russian Federation live on all major state TV channels, Putin weighed in on the rift between Comey and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is speaking out about the White House's latest turmoil between President Donald Trump and the interactions he's had with former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

Comey stated in his testimony before a congressional panel that President Donald Trump fired him in an attempt to undermine the investigations into possible collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign team and Russian Federation.

"As for us, we have our opinion, we say it openly, but it's not some kind of underground sabotage activity", he said.

The nationwide show has state television reporters in far-flung parts of the country set up with citizens to ask Putin obviously scripted questions.

He did, however, voice hope for normalizing Russia-U.S. ties.

The US Senate's efforts against Russian Federation have been "completely groundless" as "nothing extraordinary has happened" recently in the Ukraine conflict, Putin said.

Speaking in a live call-in show televised nationwide, Putin deplored the U.S. Senate's decision Wednesday to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation as a reflection of Western efforts to "contain" Russian Federation, but insisted that the measures only have made the country stronger.

The Russia leader acknowledged that his country would be ready to live with such sanctions for decades.

One caller, who claimed to be an American man in Arizona, asked Putin about "racist Russophobia" in the United States.

Following the 97-2 vote, Republican Senator of Idaho Mike Crapo, who introduced the measure, said it "will result in very powerful new sanctions against Russia".

As Putin reassured the public that he was aware of the nation's problems, texted questions and comments sporadically appeared during the first 40 minutes, many of which took a decidedly more caustic view of his rule.

Regardless, Putin's arms, at least rhetorically, are wide open as he said if Comey were to face political persecution, Russian Federation "is ready to accept him too". "It's one thing to organise protests, and another to use these protests as an instrument for provocations and exacerbating the situation for self-promotion", Putin said, without mentioning Navalny by name in his customary manner.

  • Leroy Wright