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Putin praises Trump for 'representing the common people'

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin shrugged off accusations that his country is meddling in the U.S. election, asking, "Does anyone really think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people in any way?"

"Is America some sort of banana republic? America is a great power. Please correct me if I'm wrong," Putin said during remarks at the Valdai Club, a gathering of world policy experts. Despite Putin denying Russia's involvement in the email hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the Obama administration is certain the country is behind it.

While Putin would not say if he would prefer to see Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, he had good things to say about the Republican nominee's strategy. "Trump has chosen his own way of reaching the hearts of voters," he said. "He is acting extravagantly, but not so pointlessly. He represents the interests of the part of the society tired of the elites that have held power for decades. He is representing the common people, and he is acting like a common guy himself."