This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is “laughable” to think that Moscow will attempt to meddle in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, despite conclusions in the United States that it did so in 2016.
Putin told a session of the Russian Energy Week meeting in Moscow on October 2 that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller accused Moscow of meddling in the 2016 election and “expressed concern that we might collude in the future.”
“This is laughable,” Putin said. “It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.”
In a report published in April, Mueller corroborated U.S. intelligence conclusions of Russian meddling in the election, but he concluded there was not sufficient evidence to prove accusations that President Donald Trump and his team committed a crime by colluding with Russian officials.
Mueller, many Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and security officials have warned that Russia is continuing to meddle in the U.S. political process and is preparing to so again in 2020.
In his wide-ranging comments, Putin also said he would not ask the West to lift sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine and its meddling in foreign electoral processes.
“No. I have never asked anyone to do that and will never do so,” Putin said.
Putin added he believes that asking someone to ease sanctions is useless because that would only occur when both sides realize the benefits of such a step and not simply because someone asks.