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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump is the beginning of Russia’s path back from Western isolation.
Putin spoke to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, airing on Special Report, after his summit with Trump Monday. Trump, in turn, gave post-summit interviews to Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, airing Monday and Tuesday nights, respectively.
The Russian leader told Wallace the recent U.S. indictment against 12 Russian military officials accused of hacking crimes during the 2016 presidential election is part of an internal political game. He denied state-sanctioned Russian interference in the election.
Putin also denied having compromising information on Trump and said he “was of no interest for us” before he announced his run for presidency.
“I don’t want to insult President Trump when I say this — and I may come as rude — but before he announced that he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us,” said Putin. “He was a rich person, but, well, there’s plenty of rich persons in the United States. He was in the construction business. He organized the beauty pageants. But no, it would never occur to anyone that he would think of running for president. He never mentioned his political ambitions. It sounds like it’s utter nonsense.”
When asked why so many of his critics wind up dead, Putin blamed troubles with crime in Russia and noted the U.S. has struggled, too, citing John F. Kennedy’s assassination and clashes between police and civilians.
During the widely criticized joint presser between Trump and Putin on Monday, the Russian leader rejected allegations that Moscow has collected compromising materials on Trump or his family. He dismissed the claims as “sheer nonsense” following their summit in Helsinki. He said he wanted Trump to win the presidency, but strongly denied any Russian state meddling in the election. “Yes, I wanted him to win because he spoke of normalization of Russian-U.S. ties,” Putin said.
Putin told Fox News’ Wallace on Monday: “Don’t make the relationship between Russia and the United States — don’t hold it hostage of this internal political struggle.” Adding, “It’s quite clear to me that this is used in the internal political struggle, and it’s nothing to be proud of for American democracy, to use such dirty methods in the political rivalry.”
On Tuesday morning, Trump responded to the widespread criticism on Twitter: “While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way — the Fake News is going Crazy!”
Watch the interview above.
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