Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the idea that Moscow had damning information he could use to blackmail President Trump was “a load of nonsense,” in an interview that aired Sunday night.

“I never met with him. We have a lot of Americans who visit us,” Putin said on NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.” He added: “Do you think we’re gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something? Are you all — have you all lost your senses over there?”

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia meddled in the presidential election to hurt candidate Hillary Clinton’s chances. Lawmakers and opponents of the president have asked Trump repeatedly about any business dealings with Russia — he says he has none — as well as reports of a Russian dossier of damaging personal information.

“Well, this is just another load of nonsense,” Putin said. “Where would we get this information from? Why, did we have some special relationship with him? We didn’t have any relationship at all.”


Putin again denied any Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election and any knowledge of Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. As for any hacking, Putin said the perpetrators could be outside Russia, possibly in the United States. “Hackers can be anywhere.”

Putin on Friday accused U.S. spies of “crude and systematic” widespread interference in Russian affairs.

A special counsel appointed by the Justice Department and congressional committees are investigating Russia’s impact on the election. Former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired after allegedly asking him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his Russian contacts, is scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate’s intelligence committee.

Kelly asked Putin about reports of Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s attempt to set up a secret communications channel with Russia. Putin said he knew nothing about it and that he had not discussed with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak any meeting with Kushner.


“Had there been anything significant he would have reported it to the minister. The minister would have reported it to me,” Putin said. “There weren’t even any reports. There’s nothing to even talk about.  There wasn’t even any kind of specific discussion about sanctions or anything else. For me, this is just amazing. You created a sensation out of nothing.”

As far as the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies, Putin said, “They have been misled.” He said he had yet to see any evidence of Russian meddling and drew a connection between the allegations against Russia and the theory that U.S. intelligence agencies arranged the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“If this theory is correct and that can’t be ruled out, then what could be easier, in this day and age, than using all the technical means at the disposal of the intelligence services, and using those means to organize some attacks and then pointing the finger at Russia,” he said.

As the Senate prepared for Comey’s appearance, Trump appeared unlikely to try to block him for testifying. The public hearing is expected to shed light on his private conversations with Trump in the weeks before his dismissal, including any discussion about the Flynn investigation.

There’s been no final decision as to whether Trump would invoke executive privilege, and the matter remains under discussion, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Trump’s known to change his mind on major issues.

For Thursday’s hearing, Trump could invoke executive privilege by arguing that discussions with Comey pertained to national security and that he had an expectation of privacy in getting candid advice from top aides. But legal experts say Trump likely undermined those arguments because he publicly discussed the conversations in tweets and interviews. Trump’s argument in favor of privilege also may be overcome because the investigation is focused on corruption and possible obstruction of justice.

Fox News’ Jacqueline Pham and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply