MOSCOW – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says the allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election are “fiction” invented by the Democrats in order to explain their loss.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Putin reaffirmed his strong denial of Russian involvement in the hacking of Democratic emails. The interview was recorded during Putin’s Monday trip to Paris and released Tuesday.
He said the claims of Russian meddling are driven by the “desire of those who lost the US elections to improve their standing by accusing Russia of interfering.”
Putin added that the “people who lost the vote hate to acknowledge that they indeed lost because the person who won was closer to the people and had a better understanding of what people wanted.”
Trump made a similar claim in a tweet early Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives intelligence committee has subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia’s election meddling and contacts with the Trump campaign, according to a
Senate Democrats don’t want to let President Donald Trump forget the day he met with top Russian diplomats at the White House, even as he tries to move past allegations of possible collusion between Moscow and his presidential campaign.
They’re peppering the president’s national security team with questions about the damage they believe Trump caused by sharing top-secret intelligence with the Russians on May 10. Among their inquiries: Did Trump’s guests try to bug the Oval Office? What steps were taken to ensure Russia didn’t distribute the information with anyone else? Did the president ever consult with government information security experts?
It’s a complete 180 from a year ago when Trump and many other Republicans made Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server the centrepiece of the 2016 presidential campaign. Just as Republicans repeatedly hammered Clinton for failing to adhere strictly to the federal government’s rules for handling classified information, Democrats are lecturing Trump on the same points.
“When you deal with sensitive intelligence, you can’t be unscripted,” Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said last week of Trump’s apparently spur-of-the-moment decision. “It’s not the way to conduct business, particularly when you’re dealing with highly classified information from another source.”
The intelligence about a specific Islamic State threat that Trump disclosed to the Russians allegedly was gathered by Israel, and the president allegedly violated the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement. The president’s action also raised fears other countries would think twice before confiding in the US.