In an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again had to answer the question whether he possessed compromising material on U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Well, this is just another load of nonsense. Where would we get this information from?” said Putin and repeated he had no relationship with Trump and never met him. Although Trump had previously visited Russia as a businessman, Putin said that executives from about 100 American companies were currently in Russia.
“Right now, I think we have representatives from a hundred American companies that have come to Russia,” Putin said, then added: “Do you think we’re gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something? Have you all lost your senses over there?”
The Russian President also commented on US intelligence conclusions from January this year, which found that Russia tried to interfere in election campaign to Trump’s advantage. The report also stated that Moscow was behind the hacking of email of senior Democrats.
“They have been misled,” Putin told NBC. “And they aren’t analysing the information in its entirety. I haven’t seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference in the presidential election.”
Putin’s exclusive interview to NBC was recorded on Friday in St. Petersrburg, and was largely devoted to discussing the allegations of Russian interference in U.S. election.
Kelly also asked Putin about corruption in Russia, political repression and Kremlin’s alleged crackdown on its domestic opponents.
Putin replied in his usual brusque manner:
“Why do you feel you have the right to ask us these kinds of questions? And do it all the time? To moralize and to give us lessons on how to live? We’re ready to listen to comments when it is done constructively, with the goal of establishing a relationship, creating a common environment. But we will absolutely not accept when these sorts of things are used as an instrument of political conflict.”
The interview with Putin was aired in the first episode of “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” after NBC News’.
Photo credit: Vladimir Smirnov / AP