Putin on Russian Meddling: 'I Couldn't Care Less'

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia  are both fighting for their lives in hospital after being poisoned by a mystery nerve agent

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are both fighting for their lives in hospital after being poisoned by a mystery nerve agent

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a wide-ranging investigation to determine whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow to help elect him.

Asked whether the Russian president could have "pardoned" opposition activist Alexei Navalny so he could be a competitor in the presidential election, Putin replied "I would like to cooperate with these people and ready for it".

Earlier last month, 13 Russian nationals were charged with wrongdoing related to interfering with elections in favor of Trump.

"Maybe they are not even Russians but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked; maybe they have dual citizenship or a green card; maybe the USA paid them for this". Putin said of the indictment. "There are 146 million Russians, so what?" "I couldn't care less because they do not represent the government". "I couldn't care less".

Asked if he thinks that the United States is regularly meddling in Russian affairs, Putin answered: "always".

In an interview with American broadcaster NBC News that aired on Saturday, the Russian president also suggested that some of the 13 Russian nationals indicted by the United States may not be ethnically Russian.

Intelligence officials said initially that they could not respond until they had a clearer picture of the scale and scope of Russia's interference.

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US intelligence chiefs last month said Russian attempts to meddle in USA politics are continuing unabated and pose a threat to mid-term congressional elections in November.

A senior official said Obama essentially told Putin at the G20 summit in China: 'You f*** with us over the election and we'll crash your economy'. This is ethnic nationalism, and it is similar to how Trump sees America - where white Christians are the "real Americans", and people of color, and immigrants are consistently treated as second-class, inferior, or the "other".

The Russian leader also rejected those assessments. This, he added, was so "the US government is not going to be able to deal with worldwide issues and confronting Russian aggression as assertively as it needs to".

Putin suggested in the interview that the reason Trump has seemed deferential to him is he knew upon taking office that he needed to develop a "cooperative relationship" with Russian Federation and thus he needed to treat his counterpart with respect.

"In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data", Bloomberg said. "The U.S. imposed sanctions on us". "You made a decision, at the level of parliament, at the level of Congress and put Russian Federation on your list of enemies", he said.

Putin also slammed the crippling sanctions the US has imposed on Moscow in light of the activity.

"Listen, let's sit down calmly, talk and figure things out", he said.

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