Putin Denies Meddling, Says ‘Donald’ Just Took Advantage Of Political Mood In US

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE,7 (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin speeches during the enegry forum meeting at the SPIEF 2019 Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June,6, 2019. Vladimir Putin and other foreign leaders attends  the SPIEF 2019  today. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin has returned President Trump’s favor of downplaying Russian meddling by praising him as a “talented” person who won in 2016 because he was merely perceptive to changes in the U.S.

“Mr. Trump is not a career politician,” Putin told the Financial Times in an interview that published Thursday. “I do not accept many of his methods when it comes to addressing problems. But do you know what I think? I think that he is a talented person. He knows very well what his voters expect from him.”

According to the FT, Putin was “studiously polite” in his remarks about Trump and referred to the President as “Donald” throughout the interview.

“Russia has been accused, and, strange as it may seem, it is still being accused … of alleged interference in the US election,” he said. “What happened in reality? Mr. Trump looked into his opponents’ attitude to him and saw changes in American society, and he took advantage of this.”

Trump is under fire back home for making light of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian election meddling findings abroad. During a sit-down with Putin on Friday, Trump jokingly warned Putin not to “meddle” in the 2020 election.

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