Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding steady to his belief, perhaps first-hand knowledge, that no Russian officials were involved in tampering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
During an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, we learned that 13 Russian nationals have bee indicted by Mueller and co, they are accused of creating and using fake personas, planting political ads, and even helping promote political-based rallies.
During this interview, too, he stated will “never” extradite any Russian national.
“I know that they do not represent the Russian state, the Russian authorities,” Putin told Kelly. “What they did specifically, I have no idea. I do not know what they were guided by.”
Again, Putin has asked for American authorities to give his government any evidence which links this propaganda to the Kremlin.
“Let them provide some materials, specifics and data. We’ll be prepared to look at them and talk about it,” he said.
But when Kelly asked whether Putin would extradite the accused if evidence backs up the Mueller indictment, Putin said he would not.
“Never. Never. Russia does not extradite its citizens to anyone, just like the United States. Does the United States extradite its citizens to anyone?” he asked.
As reported by Washington Post:
Appointing special counsel Robert Mueller to probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election (and any possible ties to President Trump’s campaign) was the only choice the Justice Department had. This is the best way to deal with the conflicts and potential conflicts of interest these matters posed.
In fact, the special-counsel regulations under which Mueller was appointed were written precisely to address a situation like this one. I would know; I wrote them, in 1999.
But it’s also a highly imperfect solution, because it doesn’t foreclose the possibility of political interference in the investigation. The rules provide only so much protection: Congress, Trump and the Justice Department still have the power to stymie (or even terminate) Mueller’s inquiry.
The special-counsel regulations were drafted at a unique historical moment. We were approaching the end of President Bill Clinton’s second term, and no one knew who would be elected president the next year. Presidents of both parties had suffered through scandals and prosecutions under the Independent Counsel Act — Ronald Reagan with Iran-contra and Clinton with Monica Lewinsky.
There was a chance to rethink things without either party fearing that it would give its political adversaries an advantage. Attorney General Janet Reno convened an internal working group to study the matter, and I ran that group for 18 months.