Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC News host Megyn Kelly that Jewish Russians may have meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Putin denied that he ordered ordered any interference in the election even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies of interfering on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Putin blew off the indictments, and struck an Anti-Semitic tone:
So what if they’re Russians? There are 146 million Russians. So what? … I don’t care. I couldn’t care less. … They do not represent the interests of the Russian state.
Maybe they’re not even Russians. Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship.
Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.
Putin switched the topic to the U.S. placing sanctions on Russia:
Are we the ones who imposed sanctions on the United States? The U.S. imposed sanctions on us. We in Russia cannot prosecute anyone as long as they have not violated Russian law. At least send us a piece of paper. … Give us a document. Give us an official request. And we’ll take a look at it.
Putin appeared to be oblivious to Russian meddling on the Internet, which can be accessed anywhere:
Could anyone really believe that Russia, thousands of miles away … influenced the outcome of the election? Doesn’t that sound ridiculous even to you? It’s not our goal to interfere. We do not see what goal we would accomplish by interfering. There’s no goal.
Trump has praised Putin in November as “a strong leader” who has “done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and who he’s representing.”
Trump has also given Putin the benefit of the doubt:
[Putin] said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.
Putin told NBC News that Trump is “a businessman with vast experience” and “a quick study” despite being new to politics:
He understands that if it is necessary to establish a cooperative relationship with someone, then you have to treat your current or potential partner with respect. Engaging in mutual accusations and insults, this is a road to nowhere.
(Source: NBC News)