Russian President Vladimir Putin poked fun at the ongoing political crisis in the US by joking about election meddling Wednesday.
When asked about concerns the Russia might interfere in the 2020 US elections, he replied: “I’ll tell you a secret: Yes, we’ll definitely do it,” Putin said. “Just don’t tell anyone,” he added, in a stage whisper.
Putin was appearing on a panel at Russian Energy Week, along with OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo and others.
“You know, we have enough of our own problems,” Putin continued. “We are engaged in resolving internal problems and are primarily focused on this.”
Moscow ‘asked US to release details of conversation’
Putin also commented on the scandal surrounding US President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying Moscow asked the White House to release details of his 2018 conversation with Trump in Helsinki.
“Look, I haven’t been president all my life, but my previous life taught me that any of my conversation can become public,” said Putin when asked to about the Trump-Ukraine scandal and ensuing impeachment inquiry. “I always proceed from this.”
Putin added: “So when there were attempts to launch a scandal regarding my meeting with Trump in Helsinki — we directly told the administration to just publish it. If somebody wants to know something — just publish it, we don’t mind.”
The White House faced questions after the Helsinki summit when it emerged that the official transcript from the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit omitted a portion of a question. Trump has also faced criticism over his confiscation of translator notes from a separate conversation with Putin.
“I assure you there was nothing to that would have compromised President Trump there,” Putin said. “As far as I understand it, they haven’t done it out of principle, there are just some things that should not be public.”