Russian President Vladimir Putin is asking U.S. officials to send him concrete proof that Russian people interfered in American elections, Reuters reported Saturday.
“I have to see first what they’ve done. Give us materials, give us information,” Putin said in an interview with NBC TV, according to an English voice-over. “We can not respond to that if they do not violate Russian laws.”
U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller announced indictments in mid-February for 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies suspected of meddling in the 2016 election season.
Part of the alleged scheme involved defendants posing as Americans and communicating “with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”
The Russian internet trolls reportedly not only used social media accounts to promote President Donald Trump’s election bid, but also operated accounts supporting the candidacies of Jill Stein and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran as the Green Party candidate and a Democratic party contender, respectively.
Putin, though, doubts the criminal charges. After NBC’s Megyn Kelly enumerated the allegations levied by the U.S., the Russian leader said he wants official evidence of it from the people making the claims.
“With all due respect for you personally, with all due respect for Congress, you must have people with legal degrees, 100 percent you do,” Putin said with a smile, according to Reuters. “This has to go through official channels, not through the press or yelling and hollering in the United States Congress.”
Accusations of Russian meddling have caused internal turmoil in the U.S. as many point blame at tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, as well as former President Barack Obama, for not doing enough to stop users from the country.
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