Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, made an effort to send a clear message about claims that his government “messed with” the election in 2016. He wants everyone to know that “he” want not the one who did it.
Thursday, during a CNBC-moderated panel in Arkhangelsk, Russia, he claimed that the government of Russia played no part whatsoever in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The Russian President went on to call the accusations “lies,” which he says are intended for “domestic American politics.” CNBC journalist Geoff Cutmore asked Putin flat-out if he or the Russian government were responsible for tampering with the U.S. election:
“You and the Russian government never tried to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, and there will be no evidence found?”
Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to sound witty with his response. However, he misquoted a quote, and credited it to the wrong U.S. President.
“Ronald Reagan, debating about taxes and addressing the Americans, said, ‘Watch my lips.’ He said, ‘No. Watch my lips. No,’” Putin said, referring to Reagan when it was, in fact, former President George H.W. Bush who in 1988 said, “Read my lips: no new taxes.”
Moments later, CNBC guest Evelyn Farkas corrected Putin on his error.
He dismissed the charges by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the U.S. election as lies.
“All those things are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies,” Putin told those at the annual Arctic Forum.
“All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside,” he added.
Putin also explained that his government is not interfering with the President Donald Trump’s administration at this time either, waiting for things to “rectify.” He noted that Trump is being “barred from implementing his agenda” amidst the controversies.
Trump and his administration continue to stand by their denial of allegations of colluding with the Russians to win the election. Trump has repeatedly said the Democrats have used the story as an excuse for their failed campaign.
Actor and comedian Rob Schneider offered Democrats a generous dose of reality in a tweet on Wednesday.