Russian President Vladimir Putin ruled Thursday that the charges of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election were “invented” by Donald Trump’s opponents to “delegitimize” him, ensuring that contacts with teams of candidates fell within the “usual practice “.
“All this was invented by people who are in opposition to Trump to delegitimize his work,” the Russian president said at his annual press conference.
Russia has been accused of interfering in the 2016 US election in favor of Donald Trump. For its part, Moscow denies any intervention in the electoral process of the United States.
The investigation, conducted since May by a special US prosecutor, accelerated in early December with the indictment of Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to Donald Trump, who admitted to having lied to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with the justice.
“Should we ban all contact during electoral processes around the world?” asked Vladimir Putin. “They accuse our ambassador of having discussed with someone but it is a usual practice in the world”.
“When diplomatic representatives, or even members of the government, meet with candidates or their teams, to discuss development prospects with them to understand what they plan to do when they come to power, how can they react? Why does it have to be a matter of spying?” he continued.
Asked about the work done by Donald Trump since his election, Vladimir Putin said that only “his voters, the American people” could evaluate him.
However, he “objectively sees important results in a short time,” he said, citing the growth of financial markets. “With all due respect to President Trump’s opposition in the United States, these are objective facts.”
“There are things he would like to do, but he has not been able to do yet,” he added. “On foreign policy, he had talked about improving relations with Russia, but of course, even if he wants to do it, he can not right now because of some restrictions you know.”
The Russian president hopes that Moscow and Washington “will normalize their relations in the interests of the Russian and American peoples”, in particular to strengthen the fight against “common threats”, such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but also to “resolve crises in the Middle East, North Korea, etc.”