It seems Vladimir Putin has become so tired of Russian meddling claims that he ‘secretly’ told an NBC journalist that Moscow will surely influence the 2020 US vote. The confession was made in front of a laughing audience though.
Autumn of 2020 – the time when the US will choose their president – is nearing and there is no dying down of Russiagate, it seems. So NBC’s Keir Simmons, who came to Moscow to moderate the Energy Week forum, tried to get some information on the everlasting issue.
“Is Russia as [special prosecutor] Robert Mueller alleged attempting to influence the 2020 election in the US?” Simmons, a UK journalist who works as a foreign correspondent for the US broadcaster, wondered.
Putin then covered the microphone with his hand and whispered : “I’ll tell you in secret: Yes, we’ll surely be doing this … to make all of you laugh out loud there.”
“But don’t tell anyone, OK?” the president added as the forum’s guests, who packed the conference hall, laughed and applauded. Striking a more earnest tone, Putin said that Moscow has lots of problems of its own while it’s also working “on solving internal issues and this is our main goal.”
Either making some fun of their own or not getting the joke, Voice of America apparently asked the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for comment.
“We’ve got all instruments of our power in our government countering it,” the agency assured. Probably a relief for hotheads in Washington.
Putin also touched upon the ongoing scandal over Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, which has put the US president at risk of impeachment. He assured that “there was nothing incriminating” in the phone conversations that he had with Trump.
“My previous life [before presidency] got me used to thinking that any phone call can be published and I’m always aware of this” when talking to other leaders, he explained.
The Russian leader reminded that Moscow said “we have no objections” when there were calls to release the transcripts of his meeting with Trump in Helsinki last year, but it was the US administration’s decision to keep them secret.