Megyn Kelly scored a real coup for the premier of her new show on NBC. Airing this evening, it will include a sit down interview with none other than Russian President and former KGB tough guy Vladimir Putin. Given all of the focus on Russia in American media and congressional investigations these days, the interview will no doubt draw a lot of eyeballs. For his part, Putin has been holding to the line of saying that any allegations about collusion with the Trump campaign or meddling in our elections are all vaporware. From the early clip taken from the interview and released this morning, he seems to be taking a similar stance when it comes to a now famous photograph of him sitting next to Trump associate General Michael Flynn at an awards ceremony in 2015. What did they talk about? According to Vlad, nothing at all.
“You and I, you and I personally, have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn,” Putin told Kelly in Russian, translated to English. “You and I met yesterday evening. You and I have been working together all day today. And now we’re meeting again.
“When I came to the event for our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman sitting on one side,” Putin continued. “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 there was an American gentleman. He was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services’ … that’s it. I didn’t even really talk to him… That’s the extent of my acquaintance with Mr. Flynn.”
So they, “talked about some other stuff.” Let’s face it… this isn’t going to satisfy Trump’s army of critics and it’s probably not going to shed any new light on the ongoing investigations. But if you stop and think about it, there’s nothing incredible about the story to begin with. Flynn had plenty of business in Russia and elsewhere in the private sector through his consulting work. Sure, there are open questions about his meeting with Sergey Kislyak, but there’s been no evidence offered yet that there’s a money trail involved there. Being invited to speak at the RT event (and making some cash for it) made him a guest of honor as he’s already said. That would probably earn you a spot at the high table next to Putin. As with many parts of the ongoing Russia story there are definitely wisps of smoke here, but nobody has located the actual fire.
But even if you’re of a more conspiratorial mindset, what would Putin and Flynn have been talking about at that table anyway? It was a crowded room with cameras and microphones everywhere. If there was any seriously dirty dealing going on that would hardly be the place to take care of it. Now if somebody had evidence that the two men had left together or joined up for a private meeting afterward you’d probably be onto something, but this is adding up to a goose egg thus far.
Of course, there’s more to the interview than what they’re teasing. Perhaps Vlad will have let something a bit more interesting slip over the course of their chat. It’s probably worth tuning in to find out, anyway.