In an exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend, Megyn Kelly had the opportunity to once again hear Putin’s statements on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election. Putin did not deny that Russian individuals or Russian companies were involved with the election, but he denied any involvement by the Russian government.
Of the 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies recently indicated in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller – some of which were referred to as Putin’s “close friends” by Kelly during the interview – Putin said he has “no idea” what they did or what caused them to do what they did.
“I know that they do not represent the Russian state, the Russian authorities. And what they did specifically? I have no idea. I do not know what they were guided by,” Putin said.
“Let them just not talk to the press. Let them provide some materials, some specifics and data. We’ll be prepared to look at them and talk about it,” he continued.
When asked by Kelly if Russia would extradite the individuals to the United States, Putin sternly denied any such possibility.
“Never. Never. Russia does not extradite its citizens to anyone. Just like the United States,” he said.
During the interview, Kelly also outlined other factors that have led the United States to believe Russian meddling occurred, including alleged DNC hacking and social media bots spreading false information. When asked to comment on those accusations, Putin said the only thing that matters is an official document, such as request to the general prosecutor of the Russian Federation.
“Give us a document. Give us an official request. This has to go through official channels. Not through the press, or yelling and hollering in the United States Congress,” Putin said.
Kelly interviewed Putin over the course of two days in Moscow and Kaliningrad, and the full hour-long interview will air this Friday. Kelly said that exchanges “got tense at times” with topics including Russia’s recent announcement of new advanced nuclear weapons that were revealed during a recent speech by Putin.
The U.S Department of Justice accused the 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups of “violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes,” according to the Feb. 16 indictment document.
“The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft,” the agency said, ABC reported.