Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to defend the theft of Democratic emails somewhat in an interview Monday — while continuing to deny that Russia interfered in the 2016 American election — by saying the emails were real and not fabricated.
“Russia, as a state, has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections,” Putin told Fox News’ Chris Wallace through a translator, repeating a consistent claim. He added: “Do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States, and influenced the choice of millions of Americans? This is utterly ridiculous.”
Wallace stopped him. “I’m not asking whether they influenced, I’m asking whether they tried.”
“The idea was about hacking an email account of a Democratic candidate,” Putin responded. “Was it some rigging of facts? Was it some forgery of facts? That’s the important point that I am trying to make. Was this any false information planted? No, it wasn’t.”
The Russian leader noted that some of the emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and later published online revealed Democratic Party officials who were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton, despite the party not making an endorsement in the primary.
Wallace interjected: “You’re indicating that they stole real money, not counterfeit money. So are you saying it’s okay because the facts that they took from the DNC, from John Podesta, it was their real emails so it’s okay to hack, and spread this information out and interfere with the election?”
“The information that I am aware of, there’s nothing false about it,” Putin said, not answering Wallace’s question. He moved on, urging special counsel Robert Mueller to formally request Russia’s investigative help in the probe into Russian election meddling.
Putin, through translator: “Was it some rigging of facts? Was it some forgery of facts? That’s the important point that I'm trying to make. Was this any false information planted? No, it wasn’t.” pic.twitter.com/fyvrD7r9Iu
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) July 16, 2018