The interview, which took place at the International Economic Forum in Russia on Friday, comes at a time when Putin and the Russian government have been at the forefront of American politics. Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as well as the FBI are conducting simultaneous investigations into the prospect of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and collusion with associates of Donald Trump’s campaign.
Putin once again denied any involvement in the U.S. election during his interview with Kelly, instead floating the idea that the hackers were American.
“Hackers can be anywhere,” Putin told Kelly in a clip of the interview released Friday. “They can be in Russia, in Asia, even in America — Latin America. There can even be hackers, by the way, in the United States, who very skillfully shifted the blame, as we say, onto Russia.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a Special Prosecutor, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, to oversee the Russia investigation last month. It has reportedly expanded to include the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to Trump, as well as his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned from his position in the Administration after acknowledging he wasn’t entirely truthful about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period, also remains a person of interest in the investigation, according to The Washington Post.
Putin told Kelly that he doesn’t know Flynn, even though he sat next to him at a dinner in Moscow in 2015. Although they chatted a bit, he said, he was unaware Flynn had been a government official until after he left.
“You and I personally have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn,” he said to Kelly, according to a clip of the interview that ran on Meet the Press Sunday. “I didn’t even really talk to him [at the dinner].”