Speed Reads


Putin says Mueller's Russian indictment targets weren't acting on Moscow's orders, so he 'couldn't care less'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on NBC

In an interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly that aired Friday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the significance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 election.

The nationality of the troll farm workers Mueller singled out is irrelevant, Putin argued, because they were not acting on Moscow's behalf. "So what if they're Russians?" he said of the indictment targets. "There are 146 million Russians. So what? ... I don't care. I couldn't care less. ... They do not represent the interests of the Russian state."

"Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this? This is some sort of nonsense," Putin maintained over Kelly's protests. "We don't encourage them, and we don't order them, but what I'm saying is that individuals could have used certain tools in other countries," he continued, "but they're not government officials."

Putin has repeatedly denied responsibility for election interference in conversations with President Trump, who has made conflicting statements about his assessment of the matter. Watch excerpts of the NBC interview below. Bonnie Kristian