Putin accuses Obama administration of undermining Trump’s legitimacy

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint press conference Tuesday with visiting Moldovan President Igor Dodon at the Kremlin in Moscow. The visit was Dodon's first official foreign visit to Moscow. Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/European Pressphoto Agency/Sputnik/Kremlin pool

RUSSIA, Jan. 17 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin called reports his nation had compromising intelligence on Donald Trump “total nonsense” and said Tuesday it was the Obama administration’s attempt to undermine the president-elect’s legitimacy.

“What we see is the continuing sharp domestic political struggle although the presidential elections are over and they ended with a convincing victory of Mr. Trump,” Putin told reporters in Moscow after talks with Moldovan President Igor Dodon.

“Whether the people who have been doing that really wish it or not, they do cause harm to the interests of the United States and that harm is enormous. One has the impression that upon gaining the required experience they may go as far as staging Maidan type of protests in Washington in a bid to prevent Trump from taking office.”

It was the first time the Russian president directly denied the contents of an uncorroborated dossier written by a former British intelligence agent. Last week, BuzzFeed published the 35-page report in full after Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on its contents by the intelligence community.

The report said Trump had been compromised by Russian intelligence agents during a 2013 visit to Moscow to hold the Miss Universe pageant.

Putin said that Russia did not even know that Trump had political ambitions when he was in Moscow in 2013.

“What do you think, our intelligence services are chasing after every American billionaire? Of course not! It’s total nonsense,” Putin said.

Trump has called the dossier “fake news” and blasted BuzzFeed for publshing the dossier and CNN for reporting the dossier was part of his intelligence briefing.

On Twitter last week, Trump said, “Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists. Probably released by ‘Intelligence’ even knowing there is no proof, and never will be. My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!”

Putin said it also was an attempt to prevent “the president-elect by hand and foot to not let him act on home and foreign policy election pledges.”

“Look, how can anything be done to improve the Russian-U.S. relations if such hoax as the interference of some hackers in the election campaign emerges?” Putin said.

He noted hackers only gained access information from the Democratic Party and didn’t make anything up.

All 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian intelligence, approved by Putin, used electronic hacking to try to swing the elections in favor of Trump.


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