Russian President Vladimir Putin denied having any compromising information on United States President Donald Trump during the Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly show on NBC News. Putin’s denial follows reports claiming alleged links between Trump’s election campaign and Moscow.
“Well, this is just another load of nonsense,” Putin said. “We did not have any relationship at all. There was a time when he [Donald Trump] used to come to Moscow. But you know, I never met with him. We have a lot of Americans who visit us.”
“Do you think we are gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something?” Putin asked. “Have you all lost your senses?”
Putin also refuted claims that he had links with former US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. “I did not even really talk to him...,” Putin said. “That is the extent of my acquaintance with Flynn.” A photo of Putin and Flynn seated at the same table at an event had fuelled speculation over an association between the two.
The former national security adviser to US President Donald Trump had resigned on February 13 after it emerged that he had misinformed Vice President Mike Pence about his talks on the country’s sanctions with Russia. While Flynn had earlier told Pence that he had not discussed lifting US sanctions with Russia, it was later found that the matter had, in fact, cropped up in conversation with the Russian ambassador.
Putin’s statements gain significance as former Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Director James Comey will soon testify on whether Trump had ordered him to avoid investigating links between Moscow and his administration. Comey was fired purportedly because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton emails controversy. He had also been leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. However, a letter informing Comey of his dismissal did not state exactly why he was being fired – it had merely said he was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau”.