Putin Spox Does Linguistic Gymnastics Over Trump’s Comment On Russian Poisonings

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER,3 (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) , Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (R) and Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov (L) seen during their meeting at the Hermitage, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, October,3, 2018.  Austrian Chancellor Kurz is having a one-day visit to Russia. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Image
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 3: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (R) and Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov (L) attend a meeting at the Hermitage on Octob... SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 3: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (R) and Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov (L) attend a meeting at the Hermitage on October 3, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Austrian Chancellor Kurz is on a one-day visit to Russia. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images) MORE LESS

A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed President Donald Trump’s claim in an interview that Russia was “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings.

The question, and Trump’s answer, referenced the alleged Russian poisonings, using the substance Novichok, of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain in March.

I wouldn’t make the assessment that Trump allowed that possibility and so on, as we’re reading in many media reports,” the Russian spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov (above, left), said Monday as quoted by Meduza.

“Here you’ve got to be very flexible with how you read the linguistic properties. It’s clear that there couldn’t have been a different answer,” Peskov added.

CBS’ Lesley Stahl asked Trump in the “60 Minutes” interview, which was recorded last week and aired Sunday night, whether he agreed that “Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations? In poisonings?”

“Probably he is, yeah. Probably. I mean, I don’t—” Trump began in response.

“Probably?” Stahl interjected.

“But I rely on them, it’s not in our country,” Trump said, referring either to British accusations against Russia, or Russian denials thereof.

The investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat last month identified undercover Russian military intelligence officers as likely suspects in the Skripal poisonings, and in the later homicide via poison of British citizen Dawn Sturgess, whose husband found Novichok disguised in a perfume bottle on the street near the town of the Skripal poisonings. 

H/t The Washington Post.

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