Kelly questioned Putin about the people recently indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for their interference with the election, specifically the 13 Russians who Mueller and his investigators say helped spark political dissent in the USA and contributed to Donald Trump's election. "Maybe they're not even Russians..."
"Even though this is his first term as President, he is a quick study, and he understands perfectly well that trading accusations or insults at our level is a road to nowhere", Putin said.
"I could not care less because they do not represent the state", he said, adding that Russian Federation would not extradite them. The president has called the investigation a "witch hunt", although aides have clarified he means the probe of any collusion has no merit.
"They do not represent the interests of the Russian state".
"OK fine, Russians", Putin said.
USA publication Mother Jones has reproduced a lengthy extract from a new book about the latter days of the Obama White House which includes a remarkable aside about Latvia.
In an interview with American television NBC , Putin asked on what basis the Kremlin was accused on being behind a covert operation to influence election results.
"Maybe they're not even Russians", he continued - accepting Kelly's premise and not denying there was interference in the US election.
"Maybe the Jews meddled in the USA elections".
Instead, Putin said, the USA should sign a cybersecurity pact with Russian Federation if it wanted Moscow to look into the matter in earnest.
"Could anyone really believe that Russian Federation, thousands of miles away, influenced the outcome of the election?" Give us an official request. We don't see what goal we can reach by doing something like that. "And we'll take a look at it".
USA intelligence agencies and many Western analysts have said that Russian interference came at the orders of the Kremlin. Putin asked NBC interviewer Megyn Kelly. Kelly noted that Putin made the remark about not having the tools to disrupt the USA election shortly after he announced that Russian Federation had developed major new nuclear weapons.
"In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data", Bloomberg said.