Russian President Vladimir Putin was a guest on Fox News on Monday evening, and the leader seemed to spar with the host over allegations that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Fox News anchor, Chris Wallace, also asked Putin why many of his political opponents “end up dead,” giving the example of the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and shooting of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
In a 32-minute sit-down with Wallace, Putin denied Russia’s involvement in the election as well as possessing compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump and his family.
“We don’t have anything on them, and there can’t be anything on them,” Putin said in the Fox interview. “I don’t want to insult President Trump when I say this — and I may come across as rude — but before he announced that he will run for the presidency, he was of no interest for us.”
The Fox News interview came hours after Putin and Trump met in a private meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. Trump seemed to accept Putin’s denial of the election meddling, despite U.S. intelligence’s conclusion that Russia did, in fact, interfere in it.
WATCH: Trump says he takes Putin’s word on Russian interference in U.S. election
Last week, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russians for conspiring to infiltrate computers that contained U.S. election-related software.
When Wallace brought up the indictment, Putin chuckled and shrugged it off.
“You smile … let me finish,” Wallace said.
Wallace then tried to hand Putin document to look at, but the Russian leader froze momentarily, refused to take it and told the host to put the printed indictment on the table next to him.
“Russia, as a state, has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections,” Putin said through a translator. “Do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?”
Putin’s political opponents
Towards the end of the interview, Wallace grilled Putin on why his political opponents seem to wind up dead or near death.
“Why is it that so many of the people who oppose Vladamir Putin end up dead or close to it?” Wallace asked.
Putin then compared the allegations to the assassinations of Americans such as President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. He blamed “side effects” of his country’s “maturing” process.
WATCH: Why was Russian politician Boris Nemtsov killed?
“Well, first of all, all of us have plenty of political rivals. I’m pretty sure President Trump has plenty of political rivals,” Putin said.
“But they don’t end up dead,” Wallace replied.
“Well, not always — well, haven’t presidents been killed in the United States? Have you forgotten about — well, has Kennedy been killed in Russia or in the United States? Or Mr. King? … All of us have our own set of domestic problems,” Putin said.
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