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.