Vladimir Putin said the leak of Democratic National Committee documents was important
The Russian president also commented on the US presidential election
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied having any involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee in early August, in an interview published Friday, but said it’s “important” the contents of the DNC emails were made public.
A US official saying earlier this summer there was “little doubt” Russia was behind the attack.
“I don’t know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this,” Putin told Bloomberg News. Still, Putin asked if it matters “who hacked this data,” and argued that “the important thing is the content that was given to the public.”
The Russian president also commented on the US presidential election. Putin said that he has no preference among the two major party candidates, but criticized them for playing “the anti-Russian card.”
“I don’t think they are setting the best example,” he said.
Putin responded to suspicion surrounding Russia’s role in the DNC hack by arguing that “there’s no need to distract the public’s attention from the essence of the problem by raising some minor issues connected with the search for who did it.”
“But,” he continued, “I want to tell you again – I don’t know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this.”
The Russian leader weighed in on the revelations that resulted from the release of DNC data, showing that DNC officials appeared to favor Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign over primary rival Bernie Sanders.
Putin noted that the leaks indicated “specifically that the campaign headquarters worked in the interest of one of the candidates, in this case Mrs. Clinton, rather than equally for all of the Democratic Party candidates.”
He suggested his administration wasn’t savvy enough in the realm of American politics to think of attempting to influence the election.
“To do that you need to have a finger on the pulse and get the specifics of domestic political life of the U.S. I’m not sure that even our Foreign Ministry experts are sensitive enough.”
He also told Bloomberg that the complexity of modern hackers made it “extremely difficult” to definitively say who was responsible for the leak, and suggested that they can disguise their activities and “leave their mark, or even the mark of others.”
U.S. presidential election
The Russian president maintained his neutrality in the race for president, but was sharply critical of both Clinton and Republican Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign.
“They’re both using shock tactics, just each in their own way. I don’t think they are setting the best example,” he said.
Putin also said Clinton and Trump were being “shortsighted” by playing “the anti-Russian card.” But he noted that both candidates are “very smart people” who “understand which buttons you need to press,” explaining that he viewed the attacks on Russia as “part of the U.S. political culture.”
And Putin rejected a criticism, leveled by critics and opponents of Clinton, that the sale of a Canadian uranium mining company to a Russian company in 2013 was approved by the State Department under Clinton in exchange for a $2.35 million donation to the Clinton Foundation by the chairman of the company.
“Does that mean we control the Clinton family? That’s complete nonsense,” Putin said.