Vladimir Putin reportedly has suggested that Jews could have been responsible for meddling in the American presidential election.
In a combative new interview with NBC News, the Russian strongman went off script to name possible scapegoats for the campaign to boost then-candidate Donald Trump.
“Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked,” Putin told Megyn Kelly.
He said the interference might have been carried out by immigrants from the former Soviet Union to the U.S. or even part of some American counterintelligence operation.
“Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know,” he said.
In the interview, the Russian president was asked if he condoned the interference by 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies detailed in an indictment obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller.
He countered that none of the evidence points directly to his government.
“I do not care at all, because they do not represent the government,” he said.
Trump has called Putin “a strong leader” and said he believes his claim that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 vote.
Putin Says Jews Could’ve Been Behind Election Meddling
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner