Putin denies involvement in US election
WASHINGTON/MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Wednesday his country was not involved in an effort to influence the U.S. presidential election even as WikiLeaks released another trove of internal documents from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Last week, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of launching a hacking campaign to “interfere with the U.S. election process”.
Clinton’s campaign, which has charged the Kremlin is trying to help Republican Donald Trump win the White House on November 8, took its allegations a step further on Tuesday when John Podesta, chairman of the Democratic nominee’s campaign, accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia.
At events in Florida, Trump said he had nothing to do with Putin or Russia.
“I promise you, I don’t have any business deals with Russia,” Trump said at a rally in Lakeland.
In Moscow, Putin said nothing in the hacking scandal is in Russia’s interests and accused all sides in the U.S. presidential campaign of misusing rhetoric about Russia for their own purposes.
“They started this hysteria, saying this (hacking) is in Russia’s interests, but this has nothing to do with Russia’s interests,” Putin told a business forum.
Putin said his government would work with whoever won the U.S. election, “if, of course, the new U.S. leader wishes to work with our country”.
WikiLeaks, the organisation started by Julian Assange that publishes leaked information on the internet, this week released thousands of emails from Podesta’s email account and has not said how it obtained them. Last week, it posted excerpts from Clinton’s private speeches to banking and financial firms.
The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the messages.
The leaks, coming as the election campaign reaches the final stretch, have the potential to embarrass the Clinton camp. In recent days, however, Trump’s own campaign has been in deeper trouble over the emergence of a 2005 video in which Trump bragged about groping women. Many Republican elected officials have turned their back on him and Clinton’s lead in national opinion polls has increased. (Reuters)