Putin Responds to Charges of Russian Election Meddling: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“So what?…I don’t care. I couldn’t care less.”

Alexei Druzhinin/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a new set of interviews with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, put on a master class in misdirection and what-about-ism in response to questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for interfering with the US political process.

In a word, Putin’s attitude toward the allegations could be summarized as: Meh.

Speaking with Putin in Moscow, Kelly asked about the Russian government’s role in the alleged “information warfare” campaign against the United States and what he, as Russia’s leader, knew about it. The goal of that campaign, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein put it, was “spreading distrust of candidates and political system in general.” But when Kelly pressed Putin about the details of the indictment, the Russian president said, in no uncertain terms, that he didn’t know anything about it and that he couldn’t care less. 

“So what if they’re Russians?” Putin said of the people named in the indictment. “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.” 

Putin went on to claim that his government did not encourage or condone cyberattacks on the United States. He also cast doubt on whether such an attack was even possible. “Could anyone really believe that Russia, thousands of miles away…influenced the outcome of the election? Doesn’t that sound ridiculous even to you?” he said. “It’s not our goal to interfere. We do not see what goal we would accomplish by interfering. There’s no goal.”

And he questioned whether it was Russians at all that carried out the attacks (if they really happened). “Maybe they’re not even Russians,” he said. “Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend