America's leading intelligence agencies concluded a year ago that Putin himself had directed a broad intelligence effort to influence the U.S. election to undermine Clinton's campaign and boost Trump's chances, but Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Moscow.
During his interview with NBC, the president inquired "why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this?"
In the sometimes combative interview, Putin denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote, claiming any interference was not connected to the Kremlin. "Maybe they're Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews - just with a Russian citizenship".
Mueller issued a 37-page indictment against the Russians but Putin indicated he has seen no evidence thus far that the alleged meddling broke any United States law. Putin said. "There are 146 million Russians". So what? ... I don't care.
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.
The NBC News interview was conducted in two parts, on March 1 and March 2.
"Give us an official request", he added. Are we the ones who imposed sanctions on the United States?
Asked whether he was concerned about Russian citizens attacking USA democracy, Putinreplied that he had yet to see any evidence that the alleged interference had broken Russian law. The U.S. believes Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the attacks, attacks Putin claimed are impossible because according to him, Russian Federation rid Syria of all its chemical weapons long ago. Throughout the interview, Putin continued to dismiss the claims that the meddling had come at the orders of the Russian government.
"Doesn't that sound ridiculous even to you? I do not know, either", the Russian leader said. Asked if he believes the chemical weapons attacks - which have reportedly killed many, including children - are fake news, Putin said, "Of course".
Trump himself has repeatedly shied away from condemning Russian Federation over the alleged meddling. "Well, Donald is a more modern person", the Russian leader told the journalist.