Politics

Putin: Media Is Turning Kushner, Russia ‘Sensation’ Into ‘Weapon of War Against’ Trump

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Russian President Vladimir Putin denies any knowledge of Jared Kushner’s alleged proposal to open a secret back channel to the Russian government, according to an interview with Megyn Kelly that aired Sunday.

Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, suggested creating a private communications line using Russian diplomatic facilities during a meeting with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak at Trump Tower in early December, The Washington Post reported late last month.

Though a secret communications line was never established, the report raises questions amidst accusations that President Donald Trump and his team colluded with Russia. No damning evidence of collusion has yet been found after months of investigative work by top U.S. intelligence divisions.

WaPo cites U.S. officials who were briefed on intelligence gathered from intercepted Russian communications and admits that intelligence could be Russian disinformation. “I don’t know about this proposal,” Putin told NBC News’ Kelly in an interview in St. Petersburg that aired Sunday. “No proposal like that came to me,” he explained.

Putin claimed that he never even went back and asked Kislyak about the details of the meeting, stating that he was not interested. “Had there been anything significant, he would have reported it to the minister, and the minister would have reported it to me,” the Russian president said, “There’s nothing to even talk about. There wasn’t even any kind of specific discussion about sanctions or anything else.” He then proceeded to criticize Western media for sensationalism.

“This is just amazing,” Putin told Kelly. “You created a sensation out of nothing, and out of this sensation, you turned it into a weapon of war against the current president … You people are so creative over there. Good job. Your lives must be so boring.”

Putin denied knowledge of any meetings between Trump campaign officials and members of the Russian government, noting that he doesn’t have time to meet with every ambassador every day.

He also rejected claims that Russia interfered in the election. Putin accused the U.S. of “actively interfering in electoral campaigns of other countries,” but he denied having any motive to do so. “Even if we wanted to, it wouldn’t make any sense for us to interfere,” he said, noting that the intelligence communities in the U.S. have been “misled.”

The Russian president also denied knowing former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, and he called allegations that the Russians have damaging information on Trump, such as financial data or other, “nonsense.”

“Have you all lost your senses over there?” Putin asked.

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