Photo: Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images
A frustrated Vladimir Putin dismissed allegations that Russia tried to influence last year’s presidential election as “hysteria” and compared the attention to the issue in the U.S. to anti-Semitism, while speaking on a panel discussion moderated by NBC’s Megyn Kelly Friday.
Echoing a point made by President Trump, Putin said the allegations are an excuse made by salty Democrats who can’t come to terms with their own failure last November.
“They made a mistake and they don’t want to recognize this mistake right now. They don’t want to say that they were not wise enough,” he said. “It’s easier to say it’s not our fault, it’s all — it’s the Russians. They intervened. They interfered. It’s like anti-Semitism. ‘The Jews are to blame. You’re an idiot because the Jews are to blame,’ right?”
Putin used at least one other Trump talking point in the discussion, suggesting that the proof linking the hacking of the DNC to Russians is nonexistent. There is “no specific evidence, no facts, just assumptions and allegations and conclusions based on the allegations, nothing more,” he said.
Last year, while making this same argument, Trump suggested the hacker could have been “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” Putin opted for a decidedly smaller hypothetical culprit — Kelly’s 3-year-old daughter.
Putin issued denial after denial about the hacking during the panel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. He called allegations “idle prattle” and “internal political bickering.”
“We didn’t do this. Stop this!” he said, one day after suggesting that the hackers of the DNC may have been patriotic Russians sticking up for their nation.
Putin later defended Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, telling Kelly “Don’t worry. Be happy.” He also defended Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.