Monday, June 5, 2017
Kelly-Putin Interview: Did Russia Interfere in the Election?
Putin provided his perspective in the exclusive inaugural episode of "Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly" after NBC News' Megyn Kelly posed both of those questions to the Russian president.
Kelly met Putin in St. Petersburg, the Russian president's hometown and his nation's onetime capital, after sharing a contentious discussion about Russia's attempts to hack the 2016 election at the St. Petersburg World International Economic Forum. Putin, a former KGB agent, has been painted as the puppet master behind the challenge on November's voting.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Putin ordered the disruption of the election. During the interview, Putin tried to dismiss the evidence by claiming that the United States has a history of meddling in foreign elections.
"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.
Kelly pushed back at the assertion, saying it sounded like Putin's attempt to justify his government's attempts to influence elections.
"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction," he said. "But, I repeat, we don't even have to do that. Presidents come and go, and even the parties in power change, but the main political direction does not change."
Putin claimed that Russia has a preference in an election but only reacts to the "political direction" that the United States seems to be heading in.
"It wouldn't make sense for us to interfere," he said.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports Russian President Vladimir Putin hardly spoke at all with former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn when they sat together at a Moscow dinner in 2015, NBC News quoted the Kremlin leader as saying on Sunday.
Flynn's ties to Moscow are under scrutiny in the United States amid allegations of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. An oft-published photo of him sitting next to Putin at a gala dinner seems to hint he had close relations.
Flynn has declined to testify to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee about his Russian ties, invoking his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.
Putin, speaking to NBC News' Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, said he recalled the dinner in question as a routine event.
"I made my speech. Then we talked about some other stuff. And I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, 'You know there was an American gentleman, he was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services'," Putin said.
"That's it. I didn't even really talk to him. That's the extent of my acquaintance with Mr Flynn," he added.
Posted 2:51:00 AM