This charge — and even more damning suggestions that the Trump administration actually colluded in such an effort — are at the core of a high stakes probe by a US special counsel and congressional committees. Trump’s most ardent critics are already talking of impeachment.
“I’m being honest. Do you think that from all over the world and the United States, the ambassador reports to me every day who he eats with or meets with,” said Putin.
And Putin denied that Russia had any information on Trump to influence him.
“Well, this is just another load of nonsense. Where would we get this information from? Did we have a special relationship with him? We didn’t have any relationship at all. … Have you all lost your senses over there?” Putin asked.
The Washington Post has reported that in a New York meeting in December with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, the 36 year old Kushner suggested setting up a back channel of communications with Moscow.
Putin, in the interview with journalist Megyn Kelly in St. Petersburg, said: “I don’t know about this proposal. No proposal like that came to me.”
Putin said that, had there been a proposal and it were appealing to the Russians, his foreign minister would have told him.
“There wasn’t anything to talk about,” Putin said through an interpreter.
“For me, this is just amazing. You create a sensation out of nothing and out of this sensation, you turn it into a weapon of war against the current president. Well, this is, you know, you’re just, you people are so creative over there. Good job. Your lives must be boring,” said Putin.
Putin also said he had only a brief and passing acquaintance with former US national security adviser Michael Flynn, though the two sat next to each other at a dinner in Moscow in 2015.
Putin minimized his contact with Flynn, who was fired by Trump in February after offering misleading descriptions of conversations he had had before the inauguration with ambassador Kislyak.
When the Senate intelligence committee in May demanded that Flynn provide a list of any contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and transition, Flynn invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination and refused.
Trump has strongly defended Flynn, saying his former aide was the victim of a witch hunt.