Russian President Vladimir Putin wiped the floor with NBC host Megyn Kelly in her debut on Sunday night. In no uncertain terms, Putin dismissed the entire Trump-Russia narrative as empty sensationalism.
“For me, this is just amazing. You created a sensation out of nothing, and out of this sensation, you turned it into a weapon of war against the current president,” Putin told Kelly. “You people are so creative over there, good job. Your lives must be boring.”
Step by step, Putin dismantled the assumptions behind the liberal narrative that Donald Trump had close connections with Russia, and that Putin has leverage over the president.
“We didn’t have any relationship at all,” the Russian president said of Trump. “We have a lot of Americans who visit us. Right now, I think we have representatives from a hundred American companies that have come to Russia. Do you think we’re gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something?”
“Have you all lost your senses over there?” Putin incisively asked.
He had similar dismissive answers to Kelly’s questions about Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser who was fired after a brief stint in the White House. “You and I personally have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn,” Putin told Megyn Kelly.
“You and I met yesterday evening. You and I have been working together all day today, and now we’re meeting again,” the Russian president explained. When it comes to Flynn, however, Putin admitted that he sat with the American at an event but only had the most inconsequential of conversations with him.
“I made my speech, then we talked about some other stuff, and I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, you know that was an American gentleman,” the Russian president said. “I didn’t even really talk to him. That’s the extent of my acquaintance with Mr. Flynn.”
Putin even deftly denied any hacking efforts related to the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Kelly mentioned the Russian “fingerprints” reported by U.S. intelligence agencies. “What fingerprints — hoof prints, horn prints?” the Russian president dismissively asked.
Putin argued that data can be manipulated. “It could come from your home IP address, as if your daughter carried out the attack,” he said. “There is a theory that Kennedy’s assassination was arranged by U.S. intelligence services,” the Russian president added.
“So if this theory is correct and can’t be ruled out, then what could be easier in this day and age than using all the technical means at the disposal of intelligence services … [to point] the finger at Russia?” he argued.
The Russian president was by no means endorsing a “conspiracy theory” about the JFK assassination, but he was suggesting that intelligence reports could be altered to suit the purposes of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Putin’s comments should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. It is indeed likely that Russian intelligence has carried out cyberattacks against the United States — but this can be overemphasized. The Russians could not have hacked the voting machines, and they need not have been involved in the DNC hacking, if former DNC staffer Seth Rich did indeed send information to WikiLeaks.
Russia is still a U.S. adversary, but there is very little evidence Trump or the Trump team “colluded” with Russia to win the 2016 election. There is evidence, however, that actors in the Obama White House set out to monitor the Trump team. Could the entire Trump-Russia story be a massive projection? After all, it was Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, who orchestrated the sale of a fifth of American uranium production to a Russian company.
At least one thing Putin said is right on the money — Americans, especially those on the Left, can be quite creative in defending their narrative. If only they were so creative in using the free market to solve problems, rather than pushing ever increasing government.
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