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JAN
17
10 MOS

Sochi: George Stephanopoulos Lands First Interview With Putin Ahead of Olympics (Video)

The ABC News host beat NBC as the first U.S. TV journalist to interview the Russian president in three years.

Putin and Stephanopoulos - H 2014
Courtesy of ABC
George Stephanopoulos and Vladimir Putin on Friday

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos has landed the first U.S. TV interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin ahead of next month's Winter Olympics.

Stephanopoulos beat rival network NBC, which will air the Winter Olympics next month, in scoring Putin's first sit-down with a U.S. broadcaster in three years. The first part of his interview, conducted on Friday morning in Sochi, will air on Friday's World News with the rest set to air on Sunday's This Week.

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Stephanopoulos and his producers had been working on securing Putin for some time, as had the competition at NBC. NBC Sports' Bob Costas -- not one to shy from controversial topics -- late last year expressed interest in personally interviewing Putin.

NBC News has said they expect an interview with Putin during the Games.

And Costas said during last week's Olympics press preview that NBC will discuss Russia's anti-gay laws with or without Putin.

"If Putin doesn’t drag his butt into the studio, then we’ll talk about it without him," Costas said. "But if he shows up, we’d rather talk to him. Wouldn’t you rather hear it from the horse’s mouth? I would."

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Stephanopoulos revealed more details of his conversation with the Russian leader on ABC's Good Morning America (video below), saying the two discussed terror threats, the issue of gay rights in light of Russia's controversial anti-gay law and even Edward Snowden.

"Putin was very confident that the terrorists are not going to succeed in striking here. He was also dismissive of allegations of corruption here and absolutely defiant when it came to the issue of gay rights and the international protests, including in the United States, against the anti-gay propaganda law here in Russia right now," Stephanopoulos explained.

ABC News' Jon Williams also tweeted this photo of Friday's interview.

Marisa Guthrie contributed to this report.