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I don't care, says Putin on alleged U.S. election interference

I don't care, says Putin on alleged U.S. election interference

"Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this?" the Russian president asked Kelly, referring to America's own interference with foreign elections.

The NBC News interview was conducted in two parts, on March 1 and March 2.

Kelly questioned Putin about the people recently indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for their interference with the election, specifically the 13 Russians who Mueller and his investigators say helped spark political dissent in the USA and contributed to Donald Trump's election. When asked about the indictments filed against Russian citizens, he replied: "Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship". Putin said. "There are 146 million Russians". "I couldn't care less".

Pressed by Kelly, Putin finally acknowledged that even if Russian individuals interfered, he doesn't care, because they may not have Russian heritage, and according to him, did not represent the interests of the government. "He did not do what they are saying he did", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Hanoi following a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Danang in November.

The most well-known of the Russians indicted, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has ties to Putin and the state.

Putin said Moscow could not prosecute anyone for the alleged meddling because no evidence has been presented showing that Russian law has been violated.

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"We in Russia can not prosecute anyone as long as they have not violated Russian law..."

"Maybe they're not even Russians", he continued - accepting Kelly's premise and not denying there was interference in the US election.

He claimed it was not Russia's "goal to interfere" and appeared incredulous at the charges, asking, "Could anyone really believe that Russian Federation, thousands of miles away.influenced the outcome of the election?"

Putin claimed that the United States interferes in Russian elections "all the time" but that it was "impossible for us" to do the same. "It's not our goal to interfere". Mr. Trump has said he never said Russian Federation did not meddle.

"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", Putin said.

"I have never changed the Constitution".


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