Putin: Jews, Ukrainians 'with Russian citizenship' could be behind United States election meddling

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In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by US intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote that put Donald Trump in the White House.

In an interview released on Friday, Putin told NBC's Megyn Kelly, "So what if they're Russians?"

Last month Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for allegedly backing Trump's campaign, maligning his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and engaging in other election interference.

Another idea was to get at Putin personally by leaking information about his secret finances, party corruption, or even information about the girlfriends of senior Russian leaders.

"We are ready to discuss any matter, be it missile-related issues, cyberspace or counterterrorism efforts", Putin said in an interview with NBC published by the Kremlin on Saturday. "There are 146 million Russians, so what?"

"I don't care", Putin responded. "I couldn't care less.They do not represent the interests of the Russian state". "It's that they expose problems and this is good, indeed it's right", Putin said.

Putin was asked by NBC's Megyn Kelly if he ever reads USA leader Donald Trump's posts on Twitter.

"'There was a concern if we did too much to spin this up into an Obama-Putin face-off, it would help the Russians achieve their objectives", said a participant in the top-level security meetings where policy responses were debated. Throughout the interview, Putin continued to dismiss the claims that the meddling had come at the orders of the Russian government. "I do not know either", he said.

"First, we have principles whereby we do not allow others to interfere in our domestic affairs and do not get into the affairs of others..."

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Trump has also hinted that he gives Putin the benefit of the doubt when he denies that Moscow interfered.

The Russian president also cast his own country as the victim of punishing US sanctions. Putin seemed unperturbed by Kelly's suggestion that he was unaware of the hacking.

"He understands that if it is necessary to establish a cooperative relationship with someone, then you have to treat your current or potential partner with respect", he said.

Putin told Kelly that he does not read Trump's tweets and avoids Twitter himself. "Well, Donald is a more modern person", the Russian leader told the journalist.

"In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data", Bloomberg said.

In terms of the future of Russia-U.S. relations, he cast Russian Federation as the victim. "Why did you do that?"

Putin also slammed the crippling sanctions the US has imposed on Moscow in light of the activity.

Asked by United States television network NBC whether he would follow in the footsteps of China's Xi Jinping, who is eyeing a limitless tenure, Putin insisted he had no such intentions.

Putin claimed he would be willing to fix relations with Washington.