In a rambling riff during Sunday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump denied any ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and questioned whether the Democratic National Committee had even been hacked, let alone by Russian entities.
“I don’t know Putin,” Trump claimed, and repeated his common refrain that “it would be great if we got along with Russia.”
Trump went on to suggest that his political opponents have only blamed Russian entities for hacking email systems belonging to various American political organizations in order to “tarnish” him by association.
On Friday, U.S. government officials formally accused the Russian government of directing those hacks order to influence the 2016 election.
“I notice anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians,” Trump reflected. “She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking.”
Trump claimed complete ignorance of any such associations, saying that he knows “nothing” about Russia’s inner workings.