Putin dismisses U.S. claims about Trump, Russia and elections as a ‘load of nonsense’
Russian President Vladimir Putin is dismissing as “a load of nonsense” the idea that Russia has damaging information on President Trump and denies having any relationship with him.
“I never met with him. We have a lot of Americans who visit us,” Putin said in an interview with NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.” “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 that Russia meddled in the presidential election to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Trump himself has been dogged by questions 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. A special counsel appointed by the Justice Department and congressional committees are investigating.
Former FBI Director James B. Comey, whom Trump fired after allegedly asking him to drop an investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn and his Russian contacts, is scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate’s intelligence committee.
In the NBC interview, Putin was asked about reports of Trump advisor 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.”
Putin suggested that skilled hackers anywhere, including the U.S., could shift the blame for hacking onto Russia. He also alleged that the U.S. actively interferes with electoral campaigns of other countries.
“Put your finger anywhere on a map of the world, and everywhere you will hear complaints that American officials are interfering in internal electoral processes,” he said.
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.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.