A day after seemingly conceding “patriotic” Russian hackers may have been involved in U.S. election meddling, Vladimir Putin offered a forceful and fiery rebuttal to the ongoing controversy, comparing the continued allegations of Moscow’s interference to anti-semitism.
“It’s easier to say we are not guilty, the Russians are guilty… It reminds me of antisemitism: the Jews are guilty of everything,” Putin said during a panel hosted by NBC News’ Megyn Kelly at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday. The annual event was also attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.
When asked about ongoing investigations into the Kremlin’s ties to Trump’s presidential campaign and current members of his administration, Putin said it was “just some kind of hysteria” and told Kelly “someone needs to give you a pill or something!”
“Does someone have a pill? Seriously,” he continued.
Controversy over the Democratic National Convention cyberattack last year as well as the Kremlin’s connection to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continue to embroil the White House. Most recently, Jared Kushner’s ties to prominent Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, a close associate of Putin have fallen under intense focus amid the ongoing and ever-widening FBI probe.
- At the event, Putin also said that a child could have hacked the DNC it was so easy. “IP addresses can be invented, a child can do that! Your underage daughter could do that. That is not proof,” Putin told Kelly.
- Aligned with previous accusations of Democrats, Putin blamed American politicians for the accusations against Russia. “The problem is not here, the problem is within American politics. Trump’s team was more effective in the electoral campaign,” Putin said.
- On Thursday, Putin, speaking to reporters seemed to suggest that “patriotic” Russian hackers could have been involved in the cyberattacks as “a fair contribution to the struggle against those who speak ill of Russia.” Putin emphasized the hackers would’ve been independent and that the Kremlin would have had no involvement.