Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet again proved he’s willing to say even the most outlandish things to convince people that his government played no part in influencing the 2016 U.S. election.
NBC News’ Megyn Kelly pressed Putin with questions about Russia’s alleged covert role in helping President Donald Trump get elected and colluding with Trump’s inner circle at Friday’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which she moderated. His responses grew more and more ridiculous by the minute.
Kelly shared the conclusions of a January U.S. intelligence report about election interference, which indicates that “a hundred factors” in the investigation point to Russia, she said. Putin denied the claims repeatedly.
“We didn’t do this. Stop this!” he said, when pressed on the details that experts say point to Russian involvement. “IP addresses can be invented — a child can do that! Your underage daughter could do that. That is not proof.”
“It’s easier to say, ‘It’s not our fault,’” Putin continued, speaking of Americans who are pinning the election results on Russian interference. Being the scapegoat in the hacking saga is “like anti-Semitism and blaming the Jews,” he said. “This is disinformation.”
Putin has consistently denied any link between the Kremlin and the election. He told reporters Thursday that “patriotic” individuals could have engaged in hacking but “we never engage in that at the state level.” He also said the attacks could have been staged to appear to come from Russia.
Trump has backed up Putin’s denials, even though a growing number of former and current Cabinet members are being scrutinized as a result of contact with Russians that was never disclosed.
Evidence of interference in other elections around the world, most recently in France, have also been traced back to Russia.
Kelly also inquired about the country’s role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Putin claimed that Assad had nothing to do with unleashing chemical weapons on the Syrian people.
She is scheduled to interview Putin one-on-one on Friday. Their chat will air at 7 p.m. ET Sunday on the inaugural episode of her NBC News show, “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly.”