Fox News’ Chris Wallace scored an interview with Vladimir Putin today during which he confronted Putin with the Mueller indictment of 12 Russians involved in the hacking of the DNC. As Wallace identified the specific Russian intelligence sectors involved, Putin snickered.
“I have here the indictment that was presented on Friday from the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, that says that 12 members of Russian military intelligence, the GRU—and they talk specifically about units 26165 and 74455,” Wallace said.
At this point, Putin began chuckling to himself. He didn’t explain what was so funny.
Wallace continued, “They say these units were specifically involved in hacking into Democratic Party computers, stealing information, and spreading it to the world to try to disrupt the American election.”
When Wallace tried to hand Putin a copy, Putin glared at it a moment and then indicated Wallace could set it on a table between them. Putin then denied any interference in the U.S. election, as he has done for several years now.
Putin’s denial was interrupted by Wallace who once again pointed to the detail in the indictment. After asking Wallace to be patient, Putin continued saying, “Do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans. This is utterly ridiculous.”
Putin is right that the Russian effort probably did not have that much impact on the outcome, but that’s a dodge. The question isn’t whether or not the attempt to influence the election worked but whether Russia made it in the first place. When Wallace pointed this out, Putin rebuked him again. He then went on to argue that all of the material hacked from Podesta and the DNC was accurate.
“But, Mr. President, you’re indicating that they stole real money not counterfeit money,” Wallace interjected.
This time there was crosstalk and Putin once again admonished Wallace to let him answer. Putin went on to say that there was a 1999 treaty under which Mueller could sent “an official request” and questioned by Mueller hadn’t done so. He vowed that Russia would question the 12 individuals mentioned in the indictment. You can probably imagine how that internal investigation at the GRU is going to go.
“Hey, Aleksandr, did you hack the DNC?”
“It wasn’t me.” (wink, wink)
“Okay, I believe you.” (wink)
There was more shameless lying later in the interview. Wallace pointed out a Russian video made earlier this year which showed Russian nuclear weapons falling on Florida. Putin denied that the region in the video had been identified as Florida and told Wallace he needed to look more closely at the video. Okay, here’s a screenshot from the video with Putin’s nukes on the left:
Here’s central Florida. I don’t know, Vlad, it looks pretty similar to me:
Of course, Putin isn’t going to admit to anything in the midst of an American TV interview. He’s going to lie as he always does. But the chuckle seems like a giveaway that he sees this whole process as amusing. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that one of the reasons he’s laughing, literally in our faces, is that President Trump just gave his BS denial about election interference some credence this morning. Putin’s got nothing to worry about from Robert Mueller or Chris Wallace when Donald Trump is backing him up.
Here’s the clip already cued up to the question about the indictment.