Russian President Vladimir Putin vows his country has ‘never interfered with the internal affairs’ of the U.S. ‘let alone its elections’ in a long, testy back and forth with Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace.
Wallace grilled Putin on the Justice Department indictment of 12 Russians accused of interference in the presidential election as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
The Daily Mail reports,
The news anchor waved the indictment to Putin and tried to hand it to him but Putin just chuckled and waved his hand toward a table, which Wallace placed the paperwork upon.
‘Let’s look at it this way,’ Putin said of the allegation Russia interfered in the presidential contest. ‘People are talking about the purported interference of Russia with the election process in the United States. I mentioned this in 2016, and I want to say it now again – and I really wish for your American listeners to listen to what I say. First of all, Russia, as a state, has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections.’
Wallace interrupted him and tried to question the Russian leader on specifics but Putin waved him off: ‘I will get to it. Just have a little bit of patience. Then you will get a full answer to your question. Interference with the domestic affairs of the United States — do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?’
The president added: ‘This is utterly ridiculous.’
Wallace again tried to ask if Russia interfered and Putin said: ‘I’m about to answer. Well, this is the first point that I’m trying to make.’
The indictment charged the conspirators as belonging to the military intelligence service GRU. They were accused of a sustained cyberattack against Democratic Party targets, including the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The Russian leader made an interesting point about the hacked information from Democratic National Committee, saying it was ‘real’ and ‘true.’
The Russian president pointed out that the information showed how the Democratic president primaries were manipulated to help Hillary Clinton at the expense of Bernie Sanders.’
The hacked emails from the party committee and its leaders showed officials at the organizing body did favor Clinton’s candidacy and helped boost her over the Vermont senator.
Liberals were outraged by the revelations and some of the DNC leadership had to resign as part of the fallout.
‘The information that I am aware of, there’s nothing false about it,’ Putin said at what came out of the hacking. ‘Every single grain of it is true. And the Democratic leadership admitted it — the first point. Now, the second point. If you don’t like my answer, you can give it to me straightway and I’ll just keep silent. And if you want Americans to listen to my opinion, could you please wait for a little bit?’
He went on to talk about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
‘First of all, Special Counsel Mueller has accused a certain private company in Russia – that is not even a very big enterprise, its core area of competence is a restaurant business. And now, this company hired American lawyers and defending its integrity and reputation in an American court. So far, American court has not discovered any trace of interference whatsoever. Do you know it or not? But let the millions of Americans know about it. And now, to the individuals from the indictment act. With the United States, we have a treaty for assistance in criminal cases, an existing treaty that exists from 1999. It’s still in force, and it works sufficiently. Today I referred an example of its sufficient work.’
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