Putin on alleged Russian interference in US elections

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In an interview with NBC, Putin denied US charges that he was behind the interference in the elections which resulted in Donald Trump becoming President.

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". "Maybe they're not even Russians..."

"OK fine, Russians", Putin said.

He then spoke about the accusations saying "so what if they're Russians?" he added "there are 146 million Russians".

"So what?. I don't care", Putin said in the interview. "To me it absolutely makes no difference because they do not represent the government", Putin answered, according to the Russian-language interview transcript posted Saturday by the Kremlin.

In the interview with Kelly, Putin called the US president "a businessman with vast experience" and "a quick study" despite being new to politics. "And we'll take a look at it". "This is some sort of nonsense", Putin maintained over Kelly's protests.

"Could anyone really believe that Russian Federation, thousands of miles away, influenced the outcome of the election?"

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Putin, who faces re-election this year, again denied charges by US intelligence agencies that he ordered the interference. "Secondly, we don't have this quantity of tools", he said.

Russian interference continues to loom over the USA, with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and two other intelligence officials warning, "The 2018 US midterm elections are a potential target for Russian influence operations".

"Doesn't that sound ridiculous even to you?" "We do not see what goal we would accomplish by interfering".

USA government intelligence agencies are in unanimous agreement that Russian Federation interfered in America's election.

"I have the impression that this is what the current (U.S.) president wants, but he is prevented from doing it by some forces", the Russian president said.

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

There are fears Russian hackers are planning to attack Britain's infrastructure and Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster says the United Kingdom would respond in kind.