Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked conspiracy theories linking President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and his own government, asking NBC News’ Megyn Kelly whether Americans had “all lost your senses over there.”
"You and I, you and I personally, have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn," he told Kelly in comments in Russian, which were translated into English. "You and I met yesterday evening. You and I have been working together all day today. And now we're meeting again.
"When I came to the event for our company, Russia Today [RT], and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman sitting on one side. I made my speech. Then we talked about some other stuff. And I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, 'You know there was an American gentleman. He was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services,' That's it. I didn't even really talk to him," Putin said.
He added, "If Mr. Flynn and I had this kind of interaction, while you and I, we have spent an entire day together, and Mr. Flynn was fired from his job, you then should be arrested and put in jail."
The whole issue of Moscow's alleged connections with Donald Trump's people and accusations of interference with US elections had been "selected by someone as a line of attack against the current [US] president," Putin told the NBC host.
"This isn't for us to get into, these are your domestic political squabbles. So you deal with them. Nothing to talk about... I just find it amazing how you created a sensation where there wasn't anything at all. And proceeded to turn that sensation into a tool for fighting the sitting president. You know, you're just very resourceful people there, well done, probably your lives there are boring," he said.
When the US journalist asked the Russian leader to comment on alleged meetings between Russia's Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, and "anybody from the Trump campaign," the president said he "honestly" had "no clue." It isn't any ambassador's work to report to the president on his "routine work," Putin explained.
"[The ambassador's] boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense," he said, adding, "Had there been something out of the ordinary, something remarkable, he of course would have advised the minister and the minister would have informed me.