In Megyn Kelly’s much anticipated interview with Vladimir Putin for her debut episode of NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly”, the Russian President said he never met Donald Trump during his business trips to Russia (including Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant), stated that he was unaware of any proposal from Jared Kushner to set up an alleged “secret line” of communications between the Trump administration and the Russian government, and that it’s “nonsense” to say Russia has collected compromising material about Trump among many other topics covered in the 7 minute interview (see below).
“I am not aware of such a proposal,” Putin said referring to Kushner’s alleged proposal. “No such proposal ever reached me.” Putin said many CEOs of major U.S. companies visit Russia and then asked rhetorically, “do you think we’re gathering dirt on all of them right now or something?” Putin asked, before saying: “Have you all lost your mind?”
While previously the NYT and WaPo reported that Kushner discussed the idea of creating a secret channel to discuss the crisis in Syria, with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in December, the line was never established, according to a source cited by Bloomberg. A secret line with Russia – which H.R. McMaster said is a normal thing in diplomatic relations with international counterparties – could have allowed the Trump transition team and Russian officials to communicate outside of the scrutiny of the departing Obama administration. It’s become a centerpiece of the questions swirling around Trump and his campaign and possible ties to Russia.
Putin also said that his nation had no channels of communication with the campaigns of either Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but that there may have been official contacts, which he called a “standard diplomatic practice.”
Putin also said he’d never met Trump, including during a visit by Trump to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, and called the existence of a secret Russian dossier on Trump “just another piece of nonsense.”
“There was no relationship whatsoever. Yes, he visited Moscow in his day. But, you know, I never met him,” Putin says, according to transcript.
Putin also said that he’s not aware of any meetings between Kislyak and officials from the Trump campaign, and that he doesn’t talk to Russian ambassadors every day. He called the allegations “domestic political squabbles” and a line of attack against Trump.
“Well, this is just another load of nonsense,” Putin said in response to a question about Kislyak meeting Trump campaign officials. “Because if there had been something meaningful, he would have made a report to the minister, and the minister would have made a report to me. There weren’t even any reports” the Russian president said cited by Bloomberg. And despite saying there had been no reports, Putin volunteered that “there was not even a specific discussion of sanctions or something else.” In a discussion moderated by Kelly on Friday, Putin said it was “nuts” to suggest the Trump administration had moved to ease economic sanctions on Russia.