Putin ridicules claims of meddling in US vote

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a blistering attack on Friday (Jun 2) on what he said were baseless accusations that Moscow was behind a hacking and influence campaign aimed at getting Donald Trump elected. He shared the stage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Austria and Moldova.

"[Internet protocol] addresses can be invented - a child can do that", he told NBC News correspondent Megyn Kelly, who asked Putin about the USA intelligence community's assessment that he gave at least tacit approval for the hacks.

"I said it in then, I say it now", he added. "A dumb man who can't do anything would blame the Jews for everything".

Putin said that USA intelligence, which concluded Moscow was behind the election meddling in hopes of helping President Donald Trump win, "invented" evidence that pointed to Russian Federation.

At a meeting with U.S. business leaders earlier Putin urged them to help Moscow establish a dialogue with Trump, as ties remains deadlocked amid probes into possible collusion.

Urging world leaders to work with Mr Trump, he said: "You shouldn't make a noise about this, but should create the conditions for joint work". "Hoof prints? Horn prints? Experts in information technology can invent anything".

And Putin's remark to Kelly that the TV host's young daughter could have pinned responsibility on Russia is reminiscent of Trump's remark, during a debate, that "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds" could have hacked Democratic National Committee during the campaign, not Russian operatives.

"What fingerprints?" Putin said sarcastically.

In a sign of exasperation, Putin compared what he described as the obsessive United States focus on alleged Russian interference with the vote to anti-Semitism. The Kremlin has sought to ridicule Americans for what Putin and his aides have dismissed as a witch hunt.

U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russian Federation of hacking into Democratic Party emails, helping Donald Trump's election victory, and congressional and FBI investigations into the Trump campaign's ties with Russian Federation have broken the Kremlin's hopes for a detente with Washington.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's meetings with members of Trump's team have been a focus of the congressional investigation.

Hours earlier, Trump had announced that the USA was withdrawing from the Paris climate change deal, which had been agreed by more than 190 nations.

Mr Putin scoffed at the United States focus on the Russian ambassador's contacts with members of Mr Trump's team, saying the envoy was just doing his job.

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